In case it wasn’t made clear by the camo-style hoodies on the sidelines in recent weeks. . .gotta get me one of those. . .it’s “Salute to Service” time around the National Football League, and each team gets to nominate one member of the organization to be the recipient of the annual Salute to Service Award, presented by USAA. This is the eleventh year that the award will be presented to someone that demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. This year, the Vikings have selected someone that has been with the organization for a long time. . .on the field, on the sideline, and now in the broadcast booth.
The Vikings have selected color analyst Pete Bercich as their nominee for this year’s award. Here is the bio that was part of the press release put out by the NFL:
From Kuwait to Minnesota, Minnesota Vikings Legend, Vikings Radio Network analyst, former linebacker and coach, Pete Bercich, has made numerous, authentic appreciation to service members. Bercich traveled to Kuwait to spend a week with a Minnesota-based nonprofit that provides special meals and encouragement to service members. “I was at Camp Arifjan,” Bercich said. “I’m sitting there and so excited to be here and see what we see and talk to you guys and see what you do. It’s just a fascination that I’ve had with the military for my entire life, a love and appreciation for what they do every day, what they’re asked to do, what they’re willing to do. I look at it this way: I have the greatest job in the world, being able to do what I do with the Vikings, and without them and the sacrifices they’ve made throughout centuries, I wouldn’t be able to do that.” Bercich’s support is not deterred by blizzards or artic air. He braved the weather in fall 2020 to surprise two military families with an ultimate tailgating pack and free groceries for a year. Bercich delivered the news, spending extended periods of time with the veterans’ families. Bercich instantly connected with these families because his appreciation for the service and sacrifices made by military families runs deep. “It’s truly been amazing to be able to do things like this for families like theirs and hear their stories,” Bercich said. “I’ve been a Viking for 25 years, and this is probably one of the most amazing things I’ve been able to do.” One month — November — and one game — when the Vikings annually host their Salute to Service — stand above all others for Bercich. The changing of the guard at the seat that is permanently unoccupied to honor POW/MIA is a solemn reminder of why he’s been able to live his dream. “We’re here because of the sacrifices they’ve made,” Bercich said.
Bercich played for the Vikings from 1995 to 2000 after the Vikings selected him in the seventh round of the 1994 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame. After his playing career, he spent five years on the sidelines as a coach for the team, and in 2007 joined Paul Allen in the booth as the team’s analyst for all of their games. In addition, he also served as the head football coach at Hill-Murray High School from 2016 to 2020.
Bercich is looking to be the second person to win the Salute to Service Award in the years that it has been presented. Jared Allen won the award back in 2014. . .yeah, it was after he left the Vikings, but who doesn’t love Jared Allen, am I right?
The finalists for the award will be named this January, with the winner being recognized at the NFL Honors ceremony on Super Bowl weekend.
Congratulations to Pete Bercich on being named this year’s Vikings’ nominee for the Salute to Service Award from USAA! Here’s hoping that he brings the hardware home.