GREEN BAY, Wis. –– Another former Green Bay Packer will be wearing the purple and gold next season, as linebacker Desmond Bishop has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings.
Bishop’s agent, Blake Baratz, posted a tweet Monday afternoon announcing the news.
Released by the Packers last week, Bishop’s first free-agent visit was with the Vikings. Though Bishop had interest from other teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants, the 28-year-old decided to stay within the NFC North and sign with Minnesota.
“In my heart, I think I’ll always be a Packer, even if I never play for the Packers again,” Bishop told FOXSportsWisconsin.com last week. “Right now, it’s a little difficult, it’s a little weird thinking about dressing up in a different uniform. But, it is what it is.”
Bishop will soon get used to wearing that different uniform. It just happens to be the one that he spent two games every season preparing to take down.
Bishop is the latest in a series of former Packers who wound up with the Vikings later in their careers. Wide receiver Greg Jennings opted for a contract with Minnesota earlier this offseason after seven years in Green Bay. Quarterback Brett Favre, safety Darren Sharper and kicker Ryan Longwell are other notable names who made that jump over the past decade.
The Vikings’ medical staff and front office clearly felt that the torn hamstring Bishop suffered in August 2012 was no longer an issue. Bishop claimed that he’s been recovered for months and that his absence from the Packers’ offseason training activities and minicamp practices were not directly related to that previous season-ending injury.
“I think it’s a big misconception going around about the reason I didn’t participate, but it wasn’t about my surgery,” Bishop told FOXSportsWisconsin.com last week. “That’s 100 percent healed. That was my tendon. That’s healed. But what happened was I strained my hamstring; a slight strain on the inside. That is what held me out. That’s a couple-week injury with treatment. Getting that strong, that’s not even a factor anymore. It’s been several weeks where I’ve been running and working.
“If training camp was tomorrow, I’d be a full participant.”
Bishop believes several factors played into why Green Bay released him, including the re-signing of inside linebacker Brad Jones to a three-year, $11.75 million deal and the restructuring of A.J. Hawk’s contract. Jones benefitted greatly from Bishop’s injury and quickly elevated from third-string linebacker to 10-game starter.
“We wouldn’t be having this conversation (about getting released) if I wouldn’t have gotten injured,” Bishop told FOXSportsWisconsin.com.
In Minnesota, Bishop joins a relatively thin linebacker group. The Vikings were transitioning weakside linebacker Erin Henderson to middle linebacker, but perhaps those plans will change now. Bishop exclusively played inside linebacker in Green Bay.
Bishop recorded 292 career tackles, nine sacks, nine passes defensed one interception and eight forced fumbles during his six years with the Packers.