Desmond Bishop will likely play more, bolster linebacker corps
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Mild hysteria ensued when word got out that first-round pick and rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson only played six snaps in Sunday's loss at the Chicago Bears.
Coach Leslie Frazier said that issue will get 'rectified,' meaning that Patterson will play more this Sunday. But perhaps an even more impactful player, at least from a position group that has struggled, will play more in linebacker Desmond Bishop.
"This week we want to get him a few more snaps," Frazier said. "Some more time on the field and see what he does with that. He seems to be much more comfortable in our defense now than a few weeks ago."
Bishop, 29, signed a one-year, veteran minimum deal this offseason after being cut by the Green Bay Packers, where he spent his first six years in the NFL as a middle linebacker in their 3-4 scheme.
After a successful run with the Packers, which included consecutive 100-tackle seasons and a Super Bowl championship, Bishop was highly touted as the next starting Vikings linebacker, whether it would be supplanting linebacker Erin Henderson in the middle or taking over at the weak side for linebacker Marvin Mitchell.
However, Bishop took a while to adjust after missing all the offseason workouts and didn't get on the field until the Aug. 16 preseason game at the Buffalo Bills.
The result so far has been two snaps for Bishop -- tied for the fewest for any defensive player alongside cornerback A.J. Jefferson.
"We wanted to make sure he got some game snaps and we wanted to get him a series," Frazier said. "It just turned out [the Bears] ended up going to three-wide sets so we cut it short as far as our base defense."
Bishop said it was a little frustrating finally getting his number called only to be back on the sideline after two plays.
"Yeah, a little bit," Bishop said. "That's something I can't control, I don't worry about it too much."
The situation of not playing Bishop would be a little less confusing should he be behind a tenured linebacker group -- but that's one area the Vikings' defense has struggled.
Frazier alluded to Greenway maybe doing a little too much to make up for Henderson, who is in the middle for the first time this season.
"There's potential for that to happen with a new guy across from you," Frazier said. "That's something we've got to guard against. You've got to trust that [Henderson] is going to do his job, you do your job and we'll be fine as a group."
"[Greenway] shouldn't feel like he has to do any more than he has in the past."
Henderson critiqued his play as so-so in his first two outings.
"I think I've played OK, think I've done some things well. There's some things I can do better," Henderson said. "That's what the season's all about, it's about progressing, getting better, making sure you're taking the steps necessary for us to be successful as a defense. I'm continuing to study my film and my playbook and my job so I can go out there and play fast on Sundays."