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Matt Birk '98 Named to NFL Pro Bowl

By Alexander M. Sherman, Contributing Writer

Former Harvard offensive lineman Matt Birk '98 was selected yesterday to participate in this year's NFL Pro Bowl.

Birk, in just his second season with the Minnesota Vikings, took over for two-time Pro Bowler Jeff Christy as the Vikings' starting center this year. He has started every game for Minnesota this season and was one of six Vikings chosen yesterday to play in Honolulu on Feb 4.

Birk will be joined by fellow offensive lineman Korey Stringer as a reserve on this year's NFC team. Birk will be hiking the pigskin to a familiar figure if he receives playing time with the first string, as Viking teammate Daunte Culpepper was picked as the NFC's starting quarterback.

Wide receiver Randy Moss will also play with the first unit, while teammates Cris Carter and Robert Smith will suit up as substitutes. The Vikings currently stand atop the NFC Central at 11-3.

Incidentally, Birk may experience a bit of deja vu when he suits up for the NFC on Feb. 4. Just as was the case last season, Birk will back up Christy, who now plays for Tampa Bay and was voted to the starting position at center.

The only Harvard alumnus that currently starts for an NFL squad, Birk led the Crimson to an Ivy League Championship in 1997. Harvard defeated Yale 17-7 that year to clinch an undefeated Ivy season and a league title.

This was the first year in the history

of the Pro Bowl that fans were able to vote for their favorite selections.

Collectively, the fans' vote counted as 33 percent of the selection process. Moss and Culpepper were the two leading vote-getters in the balloting. Moss led all players with 210,493 votes. Culpepper collected 207,011 votes.

Like Birk, this is Culpepper's first year as a starter.

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