A league source tells us that the Baltimore Ravens have agreed to terms with center Matt Birk.
Birk, a St. Paul native, had spent eleven years with the Vikings, arriving more than a decade ago as a sixth-round draft pick from Harvard, the same year that receiver Randy Moss joined the team as a rookie. 
Birk was the last remaining link to the 1998 Vikings team, which won 15 regular-season games before losing the NFC title game to the Falcons.
By all appearances, he gave the Vikings every opportunity to sign him, but as the days passed and no deal was reached he decided to visit Baltimore.
Some thought it was a Kurt Warner-style leverage play, with Birk looking for an offer from Baltimore that he could shop back to the Vikings.  (Birk apparently operates on a higher moral plane than that.)
That said, the decision had to be a tough one for Birk, who recently told David Fleming of ESPN The Magazine that he was anxious about uprooting his four small children and moving them halfway across the country.
And, as he told us three years ago, he wanted to stay in Minnesota:  “I was born here, I’ll die here.  I don’t want to leave.”
But leave he did.

36 responses to “BIRK TO BALTIMORE

  1. I think I just saw a Mayflower truck pull up to the Metrodome.

  2. Please, someone help me. Florio, please let them have it. I am a loyal vikings fan going back the 80’s and can’t take this anymore.

  3. I hate chilly, if anyone should leave it should be HIM!!!!!! Matty B is a staple in this community, we will miss him dearly!

  4. As a Vikes fan I sure hope this was about getting a starting opportunity in Baltimore, because if it was just about money, then this is on Birk being greedy.
    His last contract paid him 45 million.
    That said, Chilly is an idiot for letting him go. Fire Childress.

  5. I’m sure the deal was as good as done, once the waitress brought out his Surf n’ Turf dinner, w/ Coach Harbaugh, last night. The seafood specials in Minnesota just can’t compete.

  6. Oh, he’ll start in Baltimore. Chester may have potential, I believe he will make a great center, but he needs to tutelage of a good veteran for a year or two…or three.

  7. If this turns out to be true, Congratulations to the Ravens and the community because they are landing a helluva football player and even a greater guy! To Ziggy and Chilly way to blow another one. This to me is just another case of their lack of inteligence. Thanks for the 11 good years Matt and hurry back home when you wrap up the career.

  8. As a Bmore fan, I am elated. He is replacing Jason Brown who got SICK money to play for the Lambs. Birk comes in here and starts immediately and becomes the veteran anchor of a young and developing line. Sorry it comes at the Vikings fans expense but I am a really happy Raven fan at this point.

  9. I thought centers were easy to replace. If he was good, the Vikings would have sign the 32 year old. Why break tradition for a guy just because he is from Minnesota and does charity work? He’s a big union guy, he understands this is a business.

  10. Hopefully Cook or Sullivan are prepared to take over at Center now. Birk’s play has been dropping, so this really wasn’t much of a surprise. While I’ll miss him, we could do just as well I’d wager.

  11. RE: The Great Purveyor of Logical Ineptidude
    Not Mayflower…Barrett Moving and Storage.
    “You move the chains…we move the rest!”
    Gonna need a new slogan.

  12. @daboo – crawl back into your hole and hibernate for another 6 months then wake up, wash your mouth out with soap and try to remember you are a human being.

  13. Bummer. He was a good guy. Wonder what the difference in the nombers was — that will be interesting. While his play was declining, I still wished we’d kept him. But the important thing, at least to some Pack fans, is where he will be living in the off-season.

  14. I’m not real concerned about this move. Good for Birk, I’m sure he’s banking a lot of money if he’s willing to move his family to the East Coast.
    I think he is on a decline, I thought his level of play dropped off last year, and I wouldn’t be real surprised to see it continue to drop off. I would have liked to see him back, but will wait to see what happens this year to pass judgment.
    I don’t know what the fan reaction was like when Birk took over for Jeff Christy (I thought he was a pretty good center) but it may have been something like we are experiencing right now, I think that move worked out pretty good.
    Birk is a great guy, and has been a great football player, but you can’t pay someone more than you feel he is worth because he is a hometown guy that is active in the community. As nice as it is to have good guys on your team it does nothing to lead to wins.
    Good luck Birk, good luck Chilly, you better hope this works out.

  15. The Vikings are losing a great guy. With that said, Ziggy and the Vikings front office have never been shy about spending money on somebody they felt would make a difference. Birk is at the end of his career and I am holding judgement until I see what he signed for and what the Vikes offered. Either they have extreme confidnece in Sullivan or the money Birk got was to outlandish to match. Remind me of when the Vikes let Christy go, and he was replaced by another young center.

  16. The Vikings making the playoffs is looking like it hurt the direction of the franchise because you couldn’t fire Childress.

  17. Matt served us well. But he is an aged player and likely
    not worth the contract Baltimore gave him. The contract
    details will tell all.
    What is done with the cap space will be the final chapter.
    Sullivan will do just fine in Birk’s stead.
    We need a tackle, CB, WR, and Cutler. That would make
    it all better…….

  18. This a sad day for the Vikings organization. I hope that Vikings management are proud of themselves, they let a good player and an even better person walk away from his hometown. The Vikings are not going to be better without him. Sullivan nor Cook are going to be able to get the job done. If we thought our o-line was bad last year, just wait.
    I try not to pick on anybody, but the Vikings dropped the ball. And I must say that they are stupid for letting it happen. I blame Childress and Speilman. Wilf should fire those responsible, starting with our idiot head coach!!!!!!!!

  19. You Vikings fans have it all wrong, it’s addition by subtraction. They didn’t get Birk, but they traded for and signed that guy with the flower garden name. They will be much better in 09′!! LOL

  20. Where is that Douche Steelers fan Frank Burns now? Ravens signed Lewis for less then was originally reported and got Birk for $3.5mil less then Jason Brown costs and right now is the better player. Great day. Steelers fans are silent today for good reason. The reports of the Ravens demise were greatly exaggerated and now we have a ticked off Lewis with something to prove.

  21. >>FantasyFan says:
    March 4th, 2009 at 4:26 pm
    As a Vikes fan I sure hope this was about getting a starting opportunity in Baltimore, because if it was just about money, then this is on Birk being greedy.
    His last contract paid him 45 million.
    That said, Chilly is an idiot for letting him go. Fire Childress.<<
    Let me ask you- You ever leave one job to go to another for more money? You ever seek out a promotion at your current job because it brings a bigger paycheck? Thought so. Enough with the “He’s just being greedy if he left because of money” nonsense. It’s in his best interest to make as much money as he can now, just like it’s in your’s, mine and everyone else’s. STFU about players moving on for the bigger pay day already!

  22. Anyone who’s watched closely the last 2 years has known that Birk is done. He can’t block anyone inside anymore and has been getting by on reputation. It’s a sad loss for the organization’s most tenured player, but I think the Vikings only stand to get better in the running game with a more physical player in the middle.

  23. I have attended training camp every year since I was 5 years old.. Except when I was floating in the persian gulf and Couldnt get off the boat………… But I seriously Dont think I will attend this year.. Unless something BIG happens in the next couple of weeks. I am going to start shopping around to book hotel rooms in florida..For Disneyworld or Disneyland whichever it is.

  24. Interesting that the two FA moves of players with long histories with a franchise (Birk and Dawkins) and that really have their respective fan bases up in arms involve Reid and his protege Childress. No respect for players that have served long, loyally and with class.
    As an Eagles fan, I understand that the Broncos paid way more than the market value for Dawk. But according to the Birds depth chart, they don’t have enough DBs to field a dime package.
    As for screaming at Baltimore, give it a break. That’s the nature of this business. Teams sign other players free agents. And teams let players walk. Birk sounds like a class guy. But his career has a few years left. And he’s facing a retirement that will probably include a lot of pain. (See all of Florio’s articles about retired players) So, yeah, he should get the max dollars. In this industry, the hometown discount is bulls*t! And that works both ways.

  25. Matt Birk, nice guy and all, is way overrated. I’m a huge Vikings fan and can’t tell you how many times Birk pissed me off.
    Birk had a huge holding penalty on a Culpepper QB draw for a TD that cost them a MNF game in Moss’ last season. He also got flagged for a killer hold on Grady Jackson circa 2004 that negated a M Bennett run on Christmas Eve, leading to a loss and almost out in the playoffs.
    Birk talked a great game, played an average game, but when push comes to shove, you need players, not character.
    I feel his pain moving his family, but maybe his 50 million earnings can tide him over while the rest of the country goes under.

  26. What the hell?! WHY would they not sign a great player and a positive role model for all Minnesotans?

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