Vikings guard Joe Berger, who had said at the end of last season he was leaning toward retiring at age 35, appears to be having a change of heart.
A league source said Berger — who played all but two of the Vikings’ 1,115 snaps last season — is planning to play in 2018, and will explore free agency after the conclusion of his deal with the Vikings. A return to Minnesota could be a possibility, but Berger is also expected to have interest from the Giants, where former Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is now the head coach. Carolina, the team that drafted Berger, hired former Vikings OC Norv Turner as its new coordinator. Berger’s former offensive line coach, Jeff Davidson, has the same job in Detroit, and the Bears — who are also expected to have interest in Berger — would provide him another opportunity to play near his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Berger signed a two-year extension with the Vikings in 2016 that was meant to reward him for beating John Sullivan out for the starting center job. The deal required Berger to play at least 90 percent of the Vikings’ offensive snaps last year and earn a $900,000 incentive simply to match his salary from 2016; Berger led the team in snaps, returning to center for the regular-season finale against the Bears while Pat Elflein sat out because of a shoulder injury.
Concussions affected Berger in 2016, but the Michigan Tech product came through the 2017 season in good health. Now, it appears, he’ll stick around for more.