The Minnesota Vikings currently hold a 9-5 record, better than 21 other NFL teams. With the success they have had this season one could imagine they would be well-represented in the Pro Bowl, but that is not the case.
Running back Adrian Peterson was the only Vikings player to be named to the Pro Bowl. He is coming off a season where he was forced to sit out 15 of the 16 regular-season games and is currently leading the league in rushing yards with 1,314 and also has nine touchdowns to go along with that.
But it sounds like the Vikings feel they got a little snubbed and that there were more players on the team who deserved a spot on the roster. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater named one.
“There are some guys who we felt should have made it also,” Bridgewater said. “You talk about Joe Berger, another guy who works extremely hard.”
Berger was originally supposed to back up starting center John Sullivan at the start of the year but has been starting all season with Sullivan on the injured reserve/designated to return.
This is Berger’s 11th year in the NFL and his fifth with the Vikings, but this is arguably the best the 33-year old veteran has ever played in his career. He has been a borderline starter for a majority of his career, but he hasn’t been playing like that since taking over the role of starting center.
“Joe has done a remarkable job,” Bridgewater said. “Whether it’s making calls in the run game or protection, redirecting the line. Joe’s been awesome. He’s a great person. You talk about a guy who can play any position on the offensive line, that’s Joe. We’re happy to have a guy like that on our team.”
Bridgewater is not the only player on the Vikings roster to view what Berger has done this year in such high regards. Head coach Mike Zimmer has also been very happy with what his veteran center has been able to accomplish on the field.
“I thought he’s done good,” Zimmer said. “He’s physical, he can get guys in the right place, he’s protected well, done a nice job in the run game.”
Berger is usually a quieter, more reserved guy and is never one to proclaim his contributions. When asked how he feels like he has done this season, he talks about the rest of the offensive line playing well together, not as much his individual performance.
He never really thought his name would ever be one of the ones up for consideration for the Pro Bowl because he is not a household NFL name nationwide. Even so, he is glad to know that his teammates view him in such high regard.
“It’s cool for people to talk about it and stuff like that, but there’s a lot of good centers in the NFL – a lot of guys that have been there in the past,” he said. “It would have been cool, but not something I was really expecting.”
The veteran center has always been a team-first kind of guy and while he probably knows that all his teammates respect him and like having him around, he said it is still nice to hear, especially in regards to his quarterback saying he should have been named to the Pro Bowl.
“It’s great to have support from any of your teammates,” he said. “Whether at that level or just saying you’re playing well or they like to have you in the huddle. Any support you get from your teammates is appreciated.”