The Packers officially released Desmond Bishop on Monday, but the linebacker is already drawing interest from other teams. Bishop may not have to leave the NFC North as he is expected to visit the Minnesota Vikings, according to Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Although he missed the entire 2012 season due to a ruptured hamstring, Bishop should draw interest from several teams. He was one of the most productive linebackers in the NFL in 2011 if healthy could be an upgrade for linebacker-needy teams. The Vikings would be a solid fit as fourth-round pick Gerald Hodges is currently penciled in as a starter. Assuming he's healthy to open the season, Bishop could take over at middle linebacker for Minnesota, allowing Erin Henderson to move back outside.
While the Vikings are the first team with reported interest in Bishop, they aren't likely to be the only one. The Kansas City Chiefs could also be a great fit for Bishop. Kansas City general manager John Dorsey is familiar with Bishop, having come from Green Bay, and the Chiefs have a hole at middle linebacker. Derrick Johnson is a solid starter at one of the middle linebacker spots, but former undrafted free agent Akeem Jordan ran as the other starter during OTAs. Bishop would be an upgrade over Jordan and, combined with Johnson, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, would give Kansas City a very talented linebacker group.
Like Dorsey, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has ties to Bishop from Green Bay and like the Chiefs, the Raiders could use depth at linebacker. Oakland re-made its linebacker corps this offseason, signing Nick Roach, Kevin Burnett and Kaluka Maiava while drafting Sio Moore in the second round. Roach is currently slotted to start at middle linebacker, but played mostly a utility role during his career with the Bears. The Raiders have very little depth at linebacker so even if Bishop didn't overtake Roach for the starting job, he would provide much-needed depth.
The Falcons had issues at linebacker last season and even if their starters have bounce-back seasons, depth is seriously lacking. Stephen Nicholas and Sean Weatherspoon are coming off offseason surgeries and 27-year-old NFL rookie Brian Banks is one of the top backups. After losing linebacker Victor Butler for the season due to a torn ACL, the New Orleans Saints could also have interest in Bishop.