Packers release LB Desmond Bishop; Vikings already interested
A sixth-round pick out of California in 2007, Bishop took a few years to become an impact player, but he became a starter in 2010 and was one of the better three-down linebackers in the NFL. In 2011, Bishop racked up 115 tackles, 5.0 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Although he missed all of last season with a devastating hamstring injury, Bishop claims that he will be "110 percent" for training camp, and has reportedly looked good at OTA's, so it appears that he'll be good to go right out of the gate this season.
There were rumors that Bishop was being dangled as trade bait during the NFL Draft, and while teams did take an interest in the linebacker, the Packers' asking price was said to be too high. Rather than give him away for nearly nothing, the Packers held out for a more generous buyer, but eventually cut Bishop outright.
The Packers will now roll with Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk as the starting inside linebackers in their 3-4 defense. Jones was very effective in the absence of Bishop last season, as he graded out as a top-ten inside linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus. He was rewarded with a three-year, $11.75 million contract in March.
As for Bishop, he'll generate plenty of interest from linebacker-needy teams on the open market. As a matter of fact, less than two hours after the news of Bishop's release, it was reported that the Minnesota Vikings would host Bishop for a meeting. The Vikings are expected to make a "strong run" at Bishop, which would fill a need in the middle of their defense. The Kansas City Chiefs - whose general manager is a former Packers executive - have also been mentioned as a potential landing spot. Any interested team will be taking a very lengthy look at Bishop's hamstring, though all signs point to the injury checking out.
Whoever does get their hands on Bishop will be getting a great value late in free agency.