Minnesota Vikings Joe Berger NFL’s ‘most underrated’ player
By Adam Carlson
Pro Football Focus recently declared that Minnesota Vikings backup center Joe Berger is the “NFL’s Most Underrated Player” for the 2015 season.
The Minnesota Vikings are a playoff caliber team despite a ton of injuries. One of those big losses early this year was All-Pro center John Sullivan, who dealt with back problems and ended up on injured reserve. Luckily for Minnesota, they had some insurance on their roster.
Before this season, the Vikings went out of their way to bring back center/guard Joe Berger on a two-year deal worth $2.155 million. The 11 year veteran of the NFL has become a regular in Minnesota since the team brought him in before the 2011 season.
And the Minnesota Vikings should be very happy to have Joe Berger on their roster.
Berger is playing at an extremely high level this year. In fact, Pro Football Focus recently put out an article calling the 33-year-old center the “NFL’s Most Underrated Player” today. They feel he is putting together an All-Pro type season.
"“He may have started anyway this season given Minnesota’s line issues, but when John Sullivan (a former PFF All-Pro center) went down with an injury, Berger was handed the starting spot, and has posted an All-Pro-caliber season of his own.”"
Dec 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Joe Berger (61) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Eagles 48-30. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
An All-Pro caliber backup is something that the most teams can’t have the luxury of, but the Minnesota Vikings knew how good of a player the team was getting. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a huge group of teams going after Berger in free agency to drive up his price, which made his return to the boys in purple an easy fit.
But what makes Joe Berger such an underrated player? Pro Football Focus has been watching him all year and love what they’ve been seeing.
"“Berger has allowed just one sack all season, and 12 total pressures, despite playing in an offense that leads the league in seven-step drops—all while pass-blocking for a quarterback that has the ball in his hands, on average, longer than all but one other (Tyrod Taylor, if you’re curious). Few interior players have as tough of a time schematically as Berger does, and yet he has performed well as a pass blocker, and even better in the run game.”"
Speaking of the run game, Adrian Peterson averages 2.1 more yards per carry when running behind Joe Berger this season. That is a massive difference that shows just how important Berger is to the Minnesota Vikings this season.
You can see Joe Berger and the rest of the Minnesota Vikings when they take on the Chicago Bears on Sunday, December 20, 2015. Check your local listings for time and availability.