MANKATO — Desmond Bishop forgot for a moment the new teammates he's meeting, the new terminology he's learning and the new environment he's adjusting to.
That first practice with the Minnesota Vikings was satisfying simply for what it was. This linebacker was finally playing football again, his helmet buckled and his heart full.
"I felt like a kid in a candy store out there," Bishop said, following the first workout of training camp. "It's been almost a year since I lined up and just got in my stance and listened to the quarterback's cadence and called plays and covered somebody. So it's been a long time for me. I had so much fun."
Bishop's transition from Green Bay's 3-4 defense to the 4-3 scheme here, as well as his condition coming off the torn right hamstring that kept him out all of last season, will be among the most scrutinized developments of the year for Minnesota. He acknowledged the challenge of mastering so much information at once, having just joined the Vikings last month after offseason practices were finished. But the 29-year-old brushed off any concerns about being out of position or out of shape.
The 4-3? He played in that alignment his whole career until the Packers switched in 2009.
"Football is football," Bishop said.
His hamstring? He's been running full speed for more than two months, even though he didn't take part in any on-field workouts with Green Bay before being let go.
"I tested it as much as I possibly could. I'm 110 percent positive that it will hold up. So I have no fear. No limitations," Bishop said.
The easily taken-for-granted experience of putting on the pads again is what's on his mind. Beating the Packers, his former employer and now fierce rival, well, even that can wait.