Desmond Bishop didn't address his presumed role as the Minnesota Vikings' newest linebacker during this interview Tuesday with the NFL Network. He did, however, address one of the motivating factors for remaining in the NFC North after a six-year career with the Green Bay Packers.
"A lot of people call and text and say, 'Oh you want to get back at the Packers,'" Bishop said. "It's not about that. I think it's moreso trying to play against the best. If I can get a chance to play against Aaron Rodgers, I think that right there in itself is a motivation. You want to play against the best.
"Just like when I was playing for the Packers, the games I cherished best were the games against the Vikings. I got a chance to play against Adrian Peterson. … That's my mindset. I want to play against the best. It was an opportunity to play against Aaron Rodgers two times a year, so that was kind of unique and something I really liked. That's just the kind of person I am."
That answer sparked my interest. How did the Packers do against Peterson in Bishop's two seasons as a starting inside linebacker? And how much work does he face in making a dent in the Vikings' battle against Rodgers?
First, there has seemed to be a general assumption that Bishop's season-ending injury in 2012 was a primary factor in Peterson's two monster regular-season games against them. It's true that Peterson rushed for 409 yards in two games while Bishop was on injured reserve, but it's worth noting that Peterson had pretty decent success against them in 2010 and 2011 as well.
With Bishop in the lineup during those two seasons, Peterson averaged 5.4 yards per carry. The Packers won all four games, but Peterson managed 175 yards in one of them and 131 in another. In the other two, he gained a combined 123 yards on 28 carries.
Looked at one way, I guess you could say that Peterson had almost the same rushing total in two games against the Packers without Bishop as he did in four games when Bishop was in the lineup. The 4-0 record is also notable. But 429 yards in four games speaks for itself.
Second, I'm guessing Bishop is well aware of Rodgers' sparkling statistics against the Vikings over the years. The chart provides details, but Rodgers has performed well above his career averages in completion percentage, yards per game and passer rating in 11 regular-season appearances against the Vikings. Bishop will have his work cut out for him, no matter what position he plays.