By David McCoy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings knew they had a versatile guy in Joe Berger.

Prior to last season, he had started games at right guard, left guard and center in his first four years with the team.

But it was not until last year that they found out just how good he was at center. He graded out by Pro Football Focus as the best center in the league.

Joe Berger (credit: CBS)

Joe Berger (credit: CBS)

“It’s getting better each year, and having guys like John [Sullivan] in the locker room that kind of teach me to see the bigger picture a little bit as a center, you know, just kind of put it together,” Berger said.

That is why, even with a healthy John Sullivan back, Berger is in a tight battle to be the Vikings’ starting center again.

“John’s a great guy. He’s been a great center here for a long time, and, you know, he does nothing but help the room. So having him healthy is a benefit all around, no question,” Berger said. ‘The good thing is that’s not my job to evaluate it. I’m trying to get better. I think I’ve been improving every day. That’s what camp’s for, and that’s what I’m focusing on.”

His versatility makes him incredibly valuable. But like any competitor, he does not want to be a valuable backup — he wants a starting job.

And after the kind of season he had a year ago, he knows the Vikings know what he brings to the table.

“I’ve been in the league for 12 years. I think the coaches know what they have in me, good and bad,” he said. “I just got to come out here and show them that I’m ready to still work.”

The only question is where they want him to work.

David McCoy