The Minnesota Vikings secured their center position through the 2017 NFL season by giving Joe Berger a well-earned one year extension on his contract.
From the moves that the Minnesota Vikings made this year in free agency and the use of their top draft pick, it was pretty obvious that the focus for the 2016 season was improving the offense. Flashy signings like Alex Boone and Andre Smith to the offensive line helped to strengthen that unit, but once again an under the radar pickup may prove to be the most valuable.
The Minnesota Vikings took to their social media accounts to announce that they have locked down center Joe Berger for another year. The 34-year-old NFL veteran beat out John Sullivan for the starting gig this year and appears to the be team’s answer at the center position for the next two years.
The Minnesota Vikings also have other centers on the roster, including Zac Kerin and Nick Easton. The team must be hoping that one of those players will put forth a good enough performance to take over for Berger when he retires from the league.
Thankfully, the team will have time to figure things out. This extension not only locks up one of the best centers in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, but allows the team to bring the other players along more slowly and develop them the way they see fit.
Berger has started 34 times in 77 games for the Minnesota Vikings according to the official team website, but has a total of 54 starts in 115 games over the course of his career. His versatility in playing any spot on the interior of the offensive line and experience at offensive tackle at the college level make him one of the most valuable pieces of the offensive line.
Financial details of the extension have not yet been announced, but considering that Berger was able to return to the Minnesota Vikings after a lukewarm reception in free agency this offseason, odds are that the signing won’t hit the team in the pocketbook too hard.