March 4th, 2009 – 3:25 PM by Judd Zulgad
Although it isn’t official yet (in other words nothing is signed), we can confirm the Pro Football Talk report that center Matt Birk has agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Ravens. Birk, a St. Paul native, has been with the Vikings since the 1998 season and is a six-time Pro Bowl selection. Birk had an offer on the table from the Vikings and left for a visit with the Ravens on Tuesday.
Birk said last night he was very impressed with what he saw. That must have been the case. Birk will take over for Jason Brown, who left as a free agent to sign with the St. Louis Rams. John Sullivan is now atop the Vikings depth chart at center.
Birk, 32, was a sixth-round pick by the Vikings out of Harvard in 1998. Birk took over as the Vikings center in 2000 and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. He started all 16 games in 2001, 2002 and 2003 before missing four games in 2004 during the regular season while coming back from hernia surgery. He missed the entire 2005 season after having hip and sports hernia injuries following training camp. Birk hasn’t missed a start since the 2006 season.
A product of Cretin-Derham Hall, Birk was popular in part because of his success on the field and also because he became a local celebrity. He made frequent appearances on local radio and television and also had his name on two local restaurants.