Speculation

Sources: Joe Berger to Play in 2018

The vet may put off retirement for another year.

According to a tweet by Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, offensive lineman Joe Berger plans to play in 2018. Whether or not the 12-year veteran will play for the Vikings remains to be seen.

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.

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Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's still somehow an optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and previously wrote for Rant Sports. You can find Sean on the golf course and on Twitter @SeanBoarMan.

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14 Comments

  1. I was all set to chide you, Sean, for referring to Sullivan’s so-called “inflated” contract but then I saw that you did your homework. $7 million for the year he was injured and missed entirely, 2015. Eeek! Although that does beg the question: What was Sullivan due in 2016?

      1. I’d hate to see Berger go, but it sounds like Weston Richburg is going to jump from the Giants to the Jets, so there might be an opening at Center for the former. If, at this late stage of his career, the money means more to Berger, who has NOT made a Bradford-like fortune, than the chance at a ring, God bless him and his family and best of luck to him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him joined by McKinnon and Easton in New Jersey, either.

        1. The Giants could soon become Vikings-East. They already stole TE Kyle Carter.

        2. I dont see them letting Easton go ~ If they do then they will have to replace two starter ((( Berger and Easton ))) ~ And I’m fine with that as long as they are improvements ~ This years draft is said to be very good at OG ~ So who really knows ~ ???

          1. I also see them keeping Easton, which will be interesting considering he’s a RFA. I’m guessing they extend him rather than putting an original-round tender on him at $1.9M.

              1. Easton was a college free agent, so there can’t be an “original round tender,” Sean (at least, that’s my understanding). All the Vikings can do if they’ve tendered Easton below the second-round level is match any deal another club offers him, which could be below the second-round tender but well above whatever the Vikes offered him.

                The latest rumor I heard, by the way, is that the Giants are very interested in Andrew Norwell, which could leave both Berger and Easton out in the cold.

  2. I think its time to look for a young replacement in the draft ~ Right OG or OT ((( Remmers can play right tackle or right OG ))) This should be right up there with QB and 3 Tech DT ~ Doesn’t matter how it takes place be it FA or the draft ~ Though I do believe QB will come in the form of FA ~

    I love what Berger has done for the Vikings but its time to become more talents on the OL ~ Zimmer loves to run the ball so who ever it is at QB they will be playing on a run heavy team ~ Zimmer has always said that you have to be able to run the ball and stop the run to win in the NFL ~ I believe he is right ~ No Viking QB is going to be throwing for 4500+ yards and 35 TD unless their are a lot of injures at RB ~

    1. I think you’re right about drafting a young replacement for Berger. I’m intrigued by Danny Isidora and what he can bring to the table after another full offseason, but beefing up the o-line can only be a good thing for the Vikings.

      The last QB to throw for 4500+ yards and 35+ TD’s was Daunte Culpepper in 2004. That year starter Michael Bennett went down with injuries and the team’s leading rusher was Onterrio Smith with 544 rushing yards.

      1. I forgot all about Isidora ~ Not sure how they see him right now ~ As a young guy ready to make a move on a starting job or good depth ~ I could see drafting two OG\Center in the first 3 rounds if they let Easton and Berger go and if they dont believe Isidora is ready ~ No the way they let both go and not make sure they have as good or better replacements ~

        Onterrio Smith ~ Ouch that brings back memories ~ Bad one too ~ LOL ~ Culpepper could have been special if not for the knee injury and the fumbles ~ He was still the best QB we have had in a long time ~

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