What position will Desmond Bishop play?
June, 24, 2013
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
So Desmond Bishop has joined a long line of former Green Bay Packers to cross state lines and sign with the Minnesota Vikings. But unlike Brett Favre, Greg Jennings, Ryan Longwell, Darren Sharper and others, it's not immediately clear what role Bishop will have.
Bishop was at his best with the Packers as a 3-4 inside linebacker. So it's reasonable to project his best position in the Vikings' 4-3 to be middle linebacker, especially if you factor in the impact last year's torn hamstring muscle could have on his speed. But the Vikings spent their entire offseason working to transition Erin Henderson into that role, and coach Leslie Frazier sure didn't sound ready to end that experiment last week at mandatory minicamp.
So one of two things happened Monday. Either the Vikings made a move that will return Henderson to the outside, or they started down the road of potentially using two players at their second-best positions -- if not out of position altogether.
There are, of course, plenty of schematic ways to minimize the differences in the two positions. Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com reported that the Vikings will work Bishop at both positions in training camp. So I'll just say this: You will have to come up with a convincing argument to demonstrate the Vikings would be better off with Henderson inside and Bishop outside rather than vice versa.
Make no mistake here. Presuming Bishop is healthy and remains healthy, the Vikings are a better defense today. Before his arrival, the Vikings were looking at using either a journeyman (Marvin Mitchell) or a rookie (Gerald Hodges) in Henderson's former position. One way or the other, they'll have three proven veteran linebackers this season in Bishop, Henderson and Chad Greenway. Where they'll play, however, is another question entirely.