November 10, 2014

Highlighted Year: Mitch Berger, 1999

Punter, Minnesota Vikings

Age: 27
6th season in pro football (5th active), 4th with Vikings
College: Colorado
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 220

The Canadian-born Berger averaged 42.7 yards punting and was successful on 19 of 32 field goal attempts in college at Colorado. He was chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles in the sixth round of the 1994 NFL draft but was waived five games into the season. Berger was picked up by Cincinnati but saw no action and was released from the practice squad. He also was inactive with the Bears and Packers in 1995 before Minnesota signed him in ‘96 and he averaged 41.1 yards on 88 punts. His average rose to 42.9 in 1997 and 44.7 in ’98 and he was also valued for his kickoffs.

1999 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Punts – 61
Most punts, game – 6 at Denver 10/31, vs. Dallas 11/8, vs. Green Bay 12/20
Yards – 2769
Average – 45.4 [2, 1st in NFC]
Best average, game – 59.0 (on 3 punts) at Green Bay 9/26
Punts blocked – 0
Longest punt – 75 yards

Postseason: 2G
Punts –10
Most punts, game – 5 vs. Dallas, NFC Wild Card playoff; at St. Louis, NFC Divisional playoff
Yards – 442
Average – 44.2
Highest average, game – 47.6 at St. Louis, NFC Divisional playoff
Blocked – 0
Longest punt – 52 yards at St. Louis, NFC Divisional playoff

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: PFWA, Sporting News
2nd team All-NFL: AP
1st team All-NFC: Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Vikings went 10-6 to finish second in the NFC Central and qualify for the postseason as a Wild Card entry. Won Wild Card playoff over Dallas Cowboys (27-10). Lost Divisional playoff to St. Louis Rams (49-37).

Berger spent two more years with the Vikings, again leading the NFC with a 44.7-yard average in 2000, before he was released after a 2001 season in which he was bothered by neck and back injuries. He moved on to the Rams in 2002 and then New Orleans in ’03. Berger was selected to the Pro Bowl for the second time in 2004, when he was also an All-NFC selection of Pro Football Weekly. After one last year with the Saints, he played for the Cardinals, Steelers, and Broncos in 2007, ’08, and ’09, respectively. Overall, over the course of 14 active seasons Berger averaged 42.9 yards on 847 punts, with three blocked.


Highlighted Years features players who were first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970