So Long Matt Birk...A Vikings Legend

Andy RAnalyst IJuly 29, 2016

It's finally over.  Matt Birk, the leader of the Minnesota Vikings' offensive line since 2000, has signed with the Baltimore Ravens, ending his Hall-of-Fame-worthy tenure. 

The deal is believed to be a three-year deal worth about $13 million.  He is great guy, smart, and talented, but the Vikings didn't see the aging Birk in their future.

Birk, who will be 33 when next season begins, is a six-time Pro Bowler (2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007) and two-time All-Pro selection (2000 and 2003). 

He was a sixth-round selection out of Harvard in 1998 and sat behind Jeff Christy before Christy departed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2000.

Birk was at one time widely considered the best center to play in the modern era.  He helped three running backs to 1,000-yard seasons—Michael Bennett, Chester Taylor, and Adrian Peterson (twice). 

He wasn't known for his run-blocking skills as much as he was for his pass blocking.  In his eight years starting at the center position, Birk rarely gave up a sack.  He is still one of the best.

At the end of the 2007 season, Birk saw other players signing big contracts with the Vikings while he was left in the dust.  He got the hint and refused to participate in offseason workouts, which clearly led to one of his worst seasons as a Viking. 

He left for free agency this offseason determined to sign with another team.  Though the Vikings offered him a contract extension, he refused, feeling unappreciated.

In Baltimore, the 6'4'' 310-pound Birk will likely replace Jason Brown as the starter.  His presence adds immediate leadership to already solid offensive line.  With Birk ahead of quarterback Joe Flacco, expect Flacco to really shine. 

He may not make the Pro Bowl again, but his leadership skills will be second to none on the Ravens offense.  Ravens fans should be excited to have this guy in your locker room.  It will definitely be odd seeing this guy in anything but Vikings purple.

So good-bye Birk.  You have proven to be one of the greatest and will forever be a Viking.  Good luck and God Bless!