Many of us, myself included, were under the impression that the 2017 season would be the last one for Minnesota Vikings’ offensive lineman Joe Berger. Berger had made statements about this season possibly being his last one, and following the Vikings’ loss in the NFC Championship Game, it seemed as though he was leaning that way.
However, it turns out that Berger isn’t quite ready to hang it up yet.
Vikings guard Joe Berger, who'd talked about retirement last year, is instead planning to play in 2018 and explore free agency, a source said. Return to Vikings could be a fit; keep an eye on the Giants, Bears, Lions and Panthers, as well.— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingStrib) February 28, 2018
According to Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Berger has opted against hanging up his cleats and will instead explore the free agency market for 2018. Goessling says that a return to the Vikings is a possibility, but it appears there are other teams that could be interested.
Berger signed with the Vikings as a free agent prior to the 2011 season, and has just completed his seventh season in purple. He took over as a starter at guard for the final nine games of the 2014 season, and then started 30 of the team’s 32 games at center in 2015 and 2016. After the Vikings drafted Pat Elflein in the 2017 NFL Draft, Berger moved back to the right guard spot this season and again started all 16 games. He has been a very good offensive lineman for the team through much of his tenure as a starter, and the possibility of bringing him back will likely be something the Vikings are interested in.
Berger opting against retirement will give the Vikings another potential option in continuing the rebuild of their offensive line. We’ll have to see if Rick Spielman and company are interested in making it happen.