Originally created 05/06/04

Vikings' Biekert retiring after 11 NFL seasons



MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota linebacker Greg Biekert is retiring after 11 years in the NFL, the Vikings said Wednesday.

The 35-year-old Biekert has been Minnesota's starting middle linebacker the last two seasons. The former Oakland Raider signed with the Vikings as a free agent before the 2002 season, then made a career-high 147 tackles.

He had 107 tackles last season, one fewer than safety Corey Chavous, who led the team.

"He had pretty much resolved himself to retiring after the end of the last season," agent Jack Mills said.

Mills said Biekert was vacationing in Hawaii and unavailable for comment.

Biekert had one year remaining on his contract, but wanted to be closer to his family in California.

E.J. Henderson, last year's second-round pick, is ready to take over as the starter at middle linebacker.

Biekert was Oakland's seventh-round draft pick in 1993 out of Colorado. He never missed a game, playing 176 with the Raiders and Vikings. He also appeared in six playoff games for Oakland.

"Greg Biekert is one of the smartest and toughest players I have ever been associated with," Vikings coach Mike Tice said in a statement. "I hope some of our young players learned about being successful in the NFL and in life from being around Greg for two years."