As his players reported Thursday to training camp, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier revealed an important and not entirely unexpected bit of information: Desmond Bishop will start training camp as an outside linebacker rather than inside, as was widely assumed when he signed with the team last month.
Bishop played inside linebacker in the Green Bay Packers' 3-4 scheme, leading to natural speculation that the Vikings were targeting him to play the middle in their 3-4 after the departure of 2012 starter Jasper Brinkley. They worked Erin Henderson in the middle throughout the offseason, but Bishop's arrival seemed to provide an opportunity to put both players in their natural position.
Instead, Frazier told reporters he thinks Bishop can learn the defense quicker from the outside than if he had the added responsibilities of playing in the middle. That explanation makes some sense, and it doesn't preclude a swap later in training camp if Bishop assimilates quickly and/or Henderson flops in the middle.
Long story short, the Vikings' arrangement today might not represent the way they intend to start the season. They have some things they need to find out about Bishop, including the most obvious: If he is indeed fully recovered from a torn hamstring tendon suffered in August 2012. If for some reason he has not, the Vikings wouldn't have disturbed Henderson's transition to find out. Stay tuned.