Minnesota Vikings: It’s time for Joe Berger and Terence Newman to go out on top


The Minnesota Vikings boast two key veteran pieces to their team in guard Joe Berger and cornerback Terence Newman. Undoubtedly, they deserve to go out on top.

The Minnesota Vikings have the luxury of having two of the top veteran players in the game on both sides of the ball. Offensively, 35-year-old center/guard Joe Berger has been a stalwart on the line since coming to the team in 2011, while 39-year-old corner Terence Newman has put together three superb seasons on the defensive end for the Vikings.

In all likelihood, the two senior players on the Minnesota roster are staring retirement right in the eyes. In fact, Berger is under the impression that this is his last season. As for Newman, he hasn’t said one way or the other, but as the second oldest defensive player in the NFL, he’s clearly getting close too.

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That being said, neither player performs like they are ready to retire. As matter of fact, Berger ranks as the 18th best guard in the NFL, while Newman ranks as the 38th best cornerback according to Pro Football Focus.

After playing six seasons with the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys, Berger has played the last seven with the Vikings. In that time, he’s been the most consistent presence on the line, especially after taking over as a full-time starter in 2015. Although he’s listed as a center, Berger has played in every spot in the middle of the line over the years. The flexibility to play both guard spots and center has paid off big-time for the Vikings, as they’ve been able to slot him in wherever they’ve needed him.

This season, Minnesota selected center Pat Elflein, so they slid Berger over to right guard after he manned the center position last season. Nevertheless, he continues playing at a high level wherever he’s at on the line. Most importantly, he’s been a consummate team player in the process.

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In the case of Newman, he’s followed head coach Mike Zimmer seemingly everywhere he’s gone and thankfully, that brought him to Minnesota. Admittedly, I was skeptical of his signing in 2015, considering he was 37 years old at the time. Sure, the Vikings needed corner help at the time, but signing a player past his prime didn’t feel like the best of solutions.

That being said, Newman has made me look silly over the last three seasons. In reality, he’s in as good as shape as someone can be at his age. Additionally, he’s turned into one of the most important pieces on the defense.

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Specifically, Newman brings the flexibility to play multiple roles on the defensive end of the field. In turn, that’s required him to take on the nickel corner role this season after spending a majority of time on the outside the last couple of seasons. Not to mention, he’s played an instrumental role in the development of Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander.

All things considered, Berger and Newman have put together phenomenal careers, playing invaluable roles in Minnesota. This continues to be the case as they have helped make the Vikings legitimate Super Bowl contenders this year.

As great of careers as the veterans have had, neither has tasted the Super Bowl, so this presents arguably their best opportunity, if not their last, to do so. Ultimately, seeing Berger and Newman walk away from the game with Super Bowl rings in hand would make for one of the best end-of-season stories. After playing such important roles on this team, they deserve to ride off into the sunset with the satisfaction of accomplishing their ultimate goal.

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First things first, they’ll have to take care of business against the Chicago Bears on Sunday to wrap up the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. From there, anything can happen. Nevertheless, this team has proven to be a great one, so there’s no doubt that Berger and Newman could find themselves lifting a Lombardi Trophy at season’s end.