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Joe Berger retiring after seven seasons with Vikings

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.

Source: Vikings to sign Rosemount High graduate Tom Compton

The Vikings signed free agent guard Tom Compton on Thursday.

Compton, 28, is a former Rosemount High School star who most recently started five games at both left and right guard for the Bears last season. He was teammates with Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins while the two were on Washington’s roster from 2012-2015.

He’ll bring another veteran presence to an offensive line that could see competition at one spot with Joe Berger unsigned. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was open to keeping Mike Remmers, the team’s starting right tackle last season, at guard prior to free agency. Terms of Compton’s expected Vikings contract were not immediately available. He was listed at 6-foot-5 and 313 pounds in Chicago.

Compton’s 15 career starts include five at guard (2017), one as an extra tackle (2015) and nine at right tackle (2014).

The Vikings needed additional depth, at least, given the continued free agency of reserve lineman Jeremiah Sirles and Berger, last year’s starting right guard.

Fun fact: Compton has a cameo as a reporter in Sharknado 3,via the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls.

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