Frazier Comfortable If Berger Has To Fill In For Sullivan

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 21, 2011 – 1:58 pm

On September 12 the Vikings made a roster move that caught little attention, but is now a fairly significant factor in the Vikings upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers. One day after their first game of the regular season, the Vikings waived backup C Jon Cooper and filled his roster spot by signing C Joe Berger.

Berger hasn’t seen much of the field to this point, but that could change on Sunday because starting C John Sullivan did not practice all week and has been listed as doubtful for the game on Sunday due to a concussion suffered in last Sunday night’s loss to the Chicago Bears.

If the Vikings sit Sullivan on Sunday and start their #2 center, Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier sounds confident that Berger can get the job done.

“If it turns out that he is going to have to start he is going to have to play well for us,” Frazier said. “We talked about it this morning in our team meeting; as long as he doesn’t feel like the pressure of the world is on his shoulders, and that he has to do anything but his job, he is going to be fine.

“He has prepared well this week in practice, he has prepared well all along, and he is a smart and tough guy.  He knows our offense and he is excited about this opportunity and I think he will play well.”

Berger measures in at 6-5, 315 pounds and is a 7-year veteran out of Michigan Tech. He’s had 2 stints with the Miami Dolphins and a stop with the Dallas Cowboys in between during his NFL career, and now in Minnesota he might have a chance to make his 21st start. Berger started 14 games for the Dolphins last year and 6 the year before that.

The Vikings saw Berger as a player with good size and experience, which is why they signed him and waived Cooper. Berger also has some position flexibility because he can play guard if needed.

“A little bit of both,” Frazier responded when asked if Berger was added because of his size and experience advantage over Cooper, “along with the factor of the number of starts he had at center, along with playing at guard, but the bigger body definitely made a difference. He is a bright guy who has had some success and it looks like he will get an opportunity this Sunday.”

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No Surprises On Week’s Final Injury Report

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 21, 2011 – 1:34 pm

Several players on the Vikings and Packers final injury reports of the week are listed as out or doubful, but ultimately there are no surprises going into Sunday’s game.

S Jamarca Sanford (concussion), C John Sullivan (concussion) and CB Antoine Winfield (neck) are doubtful. Sanford and Sullivan have not practiced all week and Winfield has been limited each day. For the Packers, LT Chad Clifton (hamstring/knee), LB Jamari Lattimore (shoulder), DE Mike Neal (knee) and LB Frank Zombo (knee) have all been declared out, while CB Sam Shields (concussion) is listed as doubtful and did not practice all week.

Packers DT Ryan Pickett (concussion) is the only player for either team listed as questionable; he did not practice on Friday.

Everyone else on the injury report for both teams is listed as probable. You can read the entire Vikings injury report by clicking here.

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Doleman Goes Into Ring Of Honor On Sunday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 21, 2011 – 10:41 am

Football is a game that celebrates teamwork more than statistics, but if there is a statistic that captures the mind of football fans, it’s sacks. And there weren’t many players in Vikings history or NFL history who accumulated more sacks than Chris Doleman.

It is for that reason, among others, that Doleman will become just the 19th individual in franchise history to be inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor. Induction into this elite class of Vikings is the highest honor the organization can bestow upon an individual, and Doleman’s dominance along the defensive line makes him a qualified member of this group.

Doleman will be inducted into the Ring of Honor at halftime of Sunday’s game against Green Bay at Mall of America Field.

Doleman began and concluded his career with the Vikings, but also spent time with the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers. His breakthrough season came in 1987 when he tallied 11.0 sacks and six forced fumbles for the Vikings. Doleman’s best season came two years later in 1989, when he recorded a franchise single-season record 21.0 sacks. During his first stint with the Vikings (1985-1993), Doleman earned six Pro Bowl berths and three First-Team All-Pro honors.

Doleman played for the Falcons from 1994-1995 and then for the 49ers from 1996-1998, accumulating a total of 54.0 sacks in five seasons and also earning a Pro Bowl berth with each franchise. Doleman then finished his career with the Vikings during the 1999 season, registering 8.0 sacks and helping the Vikings advance to the Divisional round of the NFC playoffs. In 10 total seasons with the Vikings, Doleman registered 96.5 sacks, 31 forced fumbles and 16 fumble recoveries, making him one of the best defensive linemen in the history of a franchise with several Hall of Fame linemen.

In total for his career, Doleman accumulated eight Pro Bowl selections, three First-Team All-Pro honors and he was also named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Second-Team.

Doleman’s production and dominating presence over 15 seasons has placed him in an elite fraternity with the Vikings Ring of Honor and it should also result in induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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