The elder statesman of the Vikings’ offensive line is calling it a career.
Guard Joe Berger, who played seven of his 13 seasons for the Vikings and started 46 games across three positions from 2015-17, announced on Friday he plans to retire.
The Vikings wanted to bring back the 35-year-old, who played all but two snaps for the team last season, and Berger was considering a 14th season after initially indicating he planned to retire. He entertained interest from several teams in free agency, and had offers from the Vikings and Lions (where Jeff Davidson, Berger’s former offensive line coach in Minnesota, now works).
Ultimately, though, the husband and father of four decided to step away from the game in good health.
“After a lot of careful thought and prayer I have decide to retire from football,” Berger said in a statement. “I have been fortunate to enjoy 13 seasons and have had the opportunity to play with so many good players and coaches. I was on some great teams before the Vikings, but it wasn't until I got to Minnesota that I really felt at home. For seven years I was able to play for a great organization and in front of the best fans. US Bank stadium is an incredible place to play football. My family and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I was given. I will miss my teammates and the game but am looking forward to this next chapter. So many people have had a part in my career and I hope some day I'll be able to personally thank each one of them. Thanks for the memories! SKOL Vikings!”
The Vikings added Rosemount native and former Bears guard Tom Compton on Thursday, giving them another option with Berger set to retire. They could continue to add players who could compete for Berger’s right guard spot; Jeremiah Sirles remains on the open market (though he visited the Panthers at the beginning of the week), and GM Rick Spielman watched Ohio State’s Billy Price work out at the Buckeyes’ pro day this week.