Meet the free agents: LB Desmond Bishop

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
8:00
AM ET
Every day we'll take a look at one of the Minnesota Vikings heading for free agency, what he has meant to the team before and a prognosis on whether or not he'll be back with the club in 2014.

Free agent to be: Desmond Bishop

Position: Linebacker

Age: 29

Years in the league: 7

What he made last season: $850,000 (cap number); $850,000 (cash value)

What he did last season: Bishop picked the Vikings over several other teams when the Packers cut him in June, and he had wrested the starting weak-side linebacker job away from Marvin Mitchell by October, after showing the Vikings he was recovered from a torn hamstring. But as soon as Bishop got the starting job, he tore his left ACL on Oct. 13 against the Panthers, missing the rest of the season after having surgery.

His potential market value: It's tough to see much of a market for Bishop, who's had more season-ending surgeries (two) than he's had NFL starts (one) in the last two seasons. He turns 30 just before training camps open, and he'll have to prove he's recovered from knee surgery in time to try to make a roster. A team will likely sign him and give him a fighting chance to make a roster or at least start the season on the PUP list; Bishop is a well-respected, hard-hitting linebacker who started for a Super Bowl championship team in Green Bay, and he can be a solid starter when he's healthy. But his health is too much of a risk to create much of a market for him.

Will he still fit the Vikings? New coach Mike Zimmer has talked about how much he likes players with something to prove, and Bishop would certainly fit into that camp. Bishop could also give the Vikings a dynamic linebacker on a bargain contract, but all that assumes he's able to come back from ACL surgery in nine months. Bishop won't carry much risk for a team, but the only way he'd fit the Vikings is the only way he'd fit anywhere else: by proving he's healthy enough to come back.

What happens: The Vikings decide to move on with younger linebackers, and Bishop gets a shot with another team to recover from his surgery and try to prolong his career.

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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