Fantasy Reaction: Vikings Sign Desmond Bishop
After spending roughly a week as a free agent following his release from Green Bay, Desmond Bishop signed with the Vikings on Monday.
As a sixth-round pick in 2007, Green Bay showed patience with Bishop as his career developed. Despite putting together impressive training camps and preseasons, he was relegated to situational duty behind A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett. Green Bay rewarded his loyalty and dedication, naming him a starter in 2010. He appeared in 15 games, notching 103 tackles and three sacks.
His 2011 season was even more impressive. Despite missing three games, Bishop notched 115 tackles and five sacks. His career was on the uptick, until a ruptured hamstring caused him to miss the entire 2012 season, leading to his release last week.
It didn’t take too long for the visits to get scheduled for his services. He finally agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings to serve as their middle linebacker. Provided his hamstring is 100 percent and strong, the Vikings just made their linebacking group stronger. This move has a domino effect for both the Vikings and the Packers in individual defensive player (IDP) leagues.
When it comes to IDP, owners should give preference to every-down players. After missing 19 games over the last three seasons, can Bishop be that guy again? Bishop will be an upgrade over players like Audie Cole and rookie Michael Mauti. When Bishop is on the field, he gets to the ball carrier, producing a 13.9 percent tackle frequency between the 2010-11 seasons. He can also get to the quarterback, racking up 46 total pressures (eight sacks) in 241 pass rush snaps. However, now that he’s playing alongside Chad Greenway, Bishop sits squarely in the LB2 tier. That being said, in the preseason we need to pay close attention to how he’s able to shed blocks and move sideline-to-sideline.
This signing will not significantly impact Greenway. You might ask yourself, who’ll get the tackles? Greenway has averaged over 127 tackles and he was playing alongside guys like E.J. Henderson, who was a tackle machine himself in the early part of last season. Since 2008, Greenway has produced a 12.8 percent tackle frequency in over 5,000 defensive snaps. Based on this track record, it’s completely reasonable to think Greenway remains a top-10 linebacker.
Erin Henderson will man the weak side after projecting to be the MIKE heading into 2013. He’ll be a two-down linebacker, coming off on passing downs, with Bishop and Greenway will be the three-down defenders. Henderson’s IDP value is very limited and is largely tied to Bishop’s health.
Brad Jones is the linebacker to watch in Green Bay. Jones notched 77 tackles (56 solos) in 828 defensive snaps last season. He took over the every-down role in Week 7, so triple-digit tackles is well within his reach. Based on the PFF staff rankings, Jones is currently the No. 30 linebacker.
A.J. Hawk appeared in over 800 defensive snaps and racked up 120 tackles (43 more tackles than Jones in the same amount of snaps). The problem with Hawk from a fantasy standpoint, however, is that he did not get a significant subpackage role with Jones in the lineup. Hawk came off the field in most of the Packers’ nickel packages. Hawk is currently our No. 60 linebacker.
Mike Woellert is a Senior Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy. Follow Mike on Twitter @PFF_MWoellert