Sources: Joe Berger to Play in 2018
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 28, 2018
Berger, 35, signed with the Vikings as a free agent in 2011. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers (207th overall selection) in the 6th-round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He bounced around the league early in his career before finding a role in Minnesota. As a special teams ace (on kickoff return) and backup interior lineman he didn’t see a ton of playing time at first. However, Berger made the most of his opportunities. Due multiple injuries suffered by the Vikings front five he wound up starting 18 games the next four years.
He became the interim center in 2015 following season-ending surgery on longtime starter John Sullivan. However, Berger’s strong play as a starter and Sullivan’s back injury (as well as his inflated salary) caused the team to release Sullivan the following offseason. Berger started the next two seasons at center.
In 2017 Berger was moved to right guard after the Vikings drafted Ohio State lineman Pat Elflein. The 16-game starter earned a 75.7 grade from Pro Football Focus this year, ranking him 23rd among all NFL guards. Berger missed only two offensive snaps the entire season. Of his 84 career starts, 64 have been with the Vikings.
It’s been reported the offensive lineman could receive interest from the Vikings, Giants, Lions, Bears, and Panthers in free agency. The Michigan Tech graduate made $2.12 million last season and will likely seek a similar deal in 2018.