For Terence Newman, Brian Robison and Joe Berger, the end of the season could also mean the end of their careers.
None of the three Vikings players addressed their futures while at Winter Park on Monday. Newman and Robison left without speaking with reporters and Berger was not seen during the media access period. All three longtime NFL players helped the Vikings to a 14-4 record (13-3 in the regular season), but as the sting of the playoff loss to the Eagles wears off, they have decisions to make.
Robison, 34, did discuss the subject on Monday during his weekly appearance on KFAN.
“I think that’s a decision I’m going to have to make here over the next few weeks,” said Robison, who is under contract for 2019. “I think I need to sit down with my wife and talk about it and maybe sit down with [General Manager Rick Spielman] and just think it out. You don’t want to make any spur-of-the-moment decisions just because your emotions are all over the place. You want your mind to calm down and think things through. It is a very important decision.”
Robison, a defensive end who accepted a reserve role this season after starting from 2011-16, has spent his entire 11-year career with the Vikings.
Berger, a 13-year veteran, indicated after Sunday’s game that this could be his last season but will take some time before making a decision. It’s always nice to be wanted, so if a few teams express interest in bringing him to camp, Berger, 35, could be persuaded to play another season.
He began his career with the Dolphins in 2005 and also played with Dallas before joining the Vikings in 2011. He’s been vital, playing both guard positions as well as center during his Vikings career. He has started 46 of the past 48 games.
The 39-year-old Newman just played in the first conference championship game of his 15-year career. He has mentored the younger players, kept the locker room loose and has not looked out of place on the field despite his age. How much longer can the defensive back play?
“Another 10 years,” linebacker Eric Kendricks joked.
Newman, who had 25 tackles and an interception this season, joined the Vikings in 2015 to reunite with coach Mike Zimmer — for whom he played in Dallas and Cincinnati — to chase that elusive title. The core of the Vikings defense is young with upside, and the team will be a playoff favorite again next season.
Newman, like Robison and Berger, must decide if he can still play at a high level and continue a trophy chase.
“This one hurts,” Robison said on the radio show. “It does because, as an older guy, you don’t know how many chances you are going to get. You look at a guy like Terence Newman, whose has played so many years in this league and wasn’t able to get to that pinnacle. And I’m in the same boat.”