Joe Berger plenty familiar with new Minnesota Vikings OL coach Tony Sparano

Joe Berger has played for new Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano twice before.

There has been a lot made about the Minnesota Vikings now having three former head coaches on the offensive staff, but one in particular may be of interest to offensive lineman Joe Berger – new offensive line coach Tony Sparano.

The two of them are no strangers to one another. Berger played for Sparano when both were in Dallas in 2007 and he played two seasons for Sparano in Miami in 2009-10.

In an interview on the Vikings’ official website, Berger said that being reunited with Sparano for a third time will be a big benefit for him because of the familiarity the two have had with one another over the years.

“With a line coach, what you want is someone who is very good with technique and Tony was,” Berger said. “I had a good experience with him.”

Likewise, Sparano had praise to hand Berger’s way. While not going as far as to set him apart from his other teammates, Sparano acknowledged that their experience with one another is a plus when it comes to evaluating Berger as a player.

“I don’t want to single out any players, but I have been with Joe in two spots,” Sparano said. “I like his toughness, his intelligence And the things he brings that way. He’s from a small school and was an outstanding young man when I worked with him.”

Coming off consecutive seasons in which Berger was expected to be a valued backup, only to become the next man up and a line starter at both guard and center, heading into 2016 he is likely going to be given an opportunity to win a starting spot, even if John Sullivan returns.

While he won’t be the youngest dog in the fight, he will have one advantage – having a familiarity with the new Vikings O-line coach that none of his teammates have.


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  • Vikings kicker Blair Walsh tweeted support for Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who missed an extra point in New England’s 20-18 loss to Denver in which Gostkowski’s missed extra point became critical late in the game. Gostkowski had made 523 straight extra points prior to Sunday’s miss. Gostkowski was one of the players to reach out via Twitter following Walsh’s missed field goal in the Vikings wild card loss to Seattle.
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