The Minnesota Vikings displayed one of the league’s worst defenses again on Sunday when they took the field against the Carolina Panthers. It was just a few years ago that the Vikings had one of the league’s best run defenses, but now the team that takes the field can barely stay healthy and is below average when they do. Desmond Bishop, who missed all of the 2012 season due to a torn hamstring with the Green Bay Packers, tore his ACL this Sunday and has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
The Vikings’ defense was in desperate need of a spark going into the game on Sunday, and Bishop could have been that much needed spark as he was making his first start as a member of the Vikings. Bishop had been playing like the best linebacker the Vikings had this season, and right when he could have started making an even bigger impact he went down with this unfortunate injury.
The Vikings now must look elsewhere to fill the role as the team’s third linebacker, meaning Marvin Mitchell, or possibly Audie Cole could be looked at to replace the injured Bishop. Cole has shown flashes of his playmaking ability in the past, most notably in the preseason, and even though he is traditionally a middle linebacker, the Vikings must consider all options.
The good news concerning the Vikings’ linebacker corps is that Erin Henderson played his best overall game of the season and could possibly be taking a step forward in his first year as a full-time starter. Chad Greenway impressed at times on Sunday in both pass coverage and run defense, but with Bishop’s absence from the unit, Greenway must begin playing at a high level consistently.
Before Bishop’s injury the defense was near shambles, and with the New York Giants on the horizon it could be an ugly game next week. The Vikings will be featured in primetime with a Monday Night Football match-up, which is bad news considering the state of the Vikings’ secondary and defensive unit as a whole.