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More Angles For Bounce Back Vs. Bears

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 23, 2009 – 9:09 am

Are you tired of reading the term bounce back as it relates to the Vikings-Bears game this weekend? You might be, but this is the last blog entry we’ll dedicate to the term.

Here are some more angles that point to the Vikings being able to bounce back on Monday night with a win over the Chicago Bears…

– The Vikings are in a big spot, and so is WR Bernard Berrian. He’ll be going up against his former team for the 4th time since signing with the Vikings as a free agent a couple of offseasons back. In this season’s earlier matchup, Berrian was 1 of 4 Vikings receivers with 6 receptions, and he had 74 receiving yards to boot. In 2008 against his former team, Berrian was a key contributor in both games, hauling in 10 catches for 203 yards and 2 TDs, including a 99-yard TD reception at home in Week 13 that broke the Bears back.

– Adrian Peterson is another offensive player with a nice history going against the Bears. In 5 career games versus the division rival, Peterson has averaged 127.8 yards per game and he has 9 TDs. His best performance was during his rookie season at Soldier Field, when he torched the Chicago defense for a then-franchise record 224 yards. He also tied a team mark with 3 TDs in that game and set a new franchise record for total yards with 361. Peterson’s 53-yard kickoff return late in the 4th quarter is what set up K Ryan Longwell’s game-winning 55-yarder.

– We mentioned in an earlier post today that we should expect the Vikings to get back to the basics and run the ball this week, just as they did 2 weeks ago when they hosted and destroyed the Cincinnati Bengals. These games aren’t played on paper, we know that, but on paper the Vikings realize a couple of key advantages that will help them get back to the basics of running the football and, as a result, scoring lots of points. Chicago has the NFL’s 25th-ranked rushing defense, yielding 128.5 yards per game, and they have the league’s 21st-ranked scoring defense, allowing 23.0 points per game. In contrast, the Vikings have Peterson and an offense that averages 28.3 points per game, 3rd-best in the NFL.

– We’ve been hearing all these pesky stats about the Vikings playing on grass and at night and on national TV and all of that. The fact is, the Vikings are a disappointing 2-3 in games played on grass fields. But Chicago isn’t exactly the NFL’s gift to grass fields. They are just 4-5 on grass fields this season.


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Deja Vu Down In The Desert?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 4, 2009 – 8:08 am

For the 2nd consecutive season, the Vikings are traveling to Arizona in December for a contest against the Cardinals and a crucial late-season victory.

Last year, Minnesota trumped the Cards 35-14 for their 9th win of the season and eventually went on to win the NFC North title with a 10-6 record. This year, a victory in the desert will give the Vikings their 11th win and it will clinch at minimum a playoff berth and possibly a division title if the Green Bay Packers fall at home to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football.

In order to tab a repeat outcome this season against Arizona the Vikings could use a couple of repeat performances – specifically from RB Adrian Peterson and WR Bernard Berrian.

Peterson cut through the Cardinals in last season’s game to the tune of 165 yards on 28 carries. But it was Berrian who buried Arizona, striking twice early on an 82-yard punt return TD and then a 41-yard TD reception from Tarvaris Jackson.

Speaking of Jackson, he had 4 TD passes on the afternoon. A repeat of that effort by this year’s starting QB – Brett Favre – will also go a long way toward a playoff-clinching and potentially division-cinching victory.


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Friday Morning Injury Update

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 27, 2009 – 7:54 am

We haven’t mentioned here in the vikings.com Blog anything about the Vikings Wednesday or Thursday injury reports. You can take a look at them by clicking here.

But if you don’t want to click the link, here’s a quick summary…

WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring), RB Adrian Peterson (ankle) and CB Antoine Winfield (foot) have been limited both days. Berrian has been dealing with a lingering hamstring issue for several weeks but has suited up all season and has scored 2 TDs in the last 3 games. Winfield has missed the last 4 games with his foot injury but he said earlier this week that he’s “looking forward to getting out there on Sunday.

LB E.J. Henderson (knee) and CB Benny Sapp (groin) have been able to practice in full this week.

G Anthony Herrera (concussion) has been held out of both practices and FB Fahu Tahi (ankle) was limited on Wednesday and was held out on Thursday.

The Vikings will practice on late this morning and the week’s final injury report will be issue soon thereafter. Also, head coach Brad Childress will meet with reporters following practice.


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Berrian To Host 2nd Annual Turkey Giveaway and Challenge

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 17, 2009 – 6:43 am

WR Bernard Berrian, in partnership with Second Harvest Heartland and with teammates and members of the Minnesota Wild, will put on his 2nd annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway and challenge today in Minneapolis.

Berrian, along with teammates Sidney Rice, Chester Taylor, Pat Williams and Jimmy Kennedy, will be joined by Wild players Derek Boogaard and James Sheppard to personally handout 75 Thanksgiving turkeys to those in need. Also at the event, Berrian will announce a $5,000 personal donation to Second Harvest Heartland to provide 500 Thanksgiving turkeys to inner-city families in the Twin Cities and he will challenge the Twin Cities community to put a turkey on every table this Thanksgiving by donating to Second Harvest Heartland through November 25.

In its inaugural year, the Bernard Berrian Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway and Challenge with Second Harvest Heartland provided 500 turkeys to those in need in the Twin Cities and resulted in a total of $45,000 in additional contributions to Second Harvest Heartland. Second Harvest Heartland has a mission of ending hunger through community partnerships. The hunger-relief organization serves 59 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin and distributed a total of 41 million pounds of food last year.

For more information on Second Harvest Heartland and Bernard Berrian’s Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway and Challenge, visit www.2harvest.org/bernardchallange


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Looking Good And Looking To Get Healthy At The Bye

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 3, 2009 – 10:39 am

The Vikings enter their bye week with a 7-1 record and fresh off an exciting win over Green Bay that improved their record in the NFC to 5-0 and in the NFC North to 3-0. As a result, the Vikings sit atop the division with a 2.5-game lead over both Chicago and Green Bay and also with tie-breaker priority over the Packers following a season sweep of the green and gold.

With all of that good news in mind, it’s also important to note that the bye week comes at a good time for the Vikings. They are half-way through the regular season, but when you add in a 4-week preseason, training camp, injuries and the high-profile nature of the team, you can see this Vikings team has been through a lot already in 2009.

“It’s the half way point of the season and for us I think it’s great to keep that in perspective,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said. “It is probably good to have the latest bye in the League here. You don’t hear many coaches say that it doesn’t come at a good time. It does come at a good time just from the standpoint that these guys have been going at it for a very long time with the four preseason games and two weeks of training camp.”

Although a key defensive player – Antoine Winfield – has missed the previous 2 games and the Vikings had 11 players on last week’s injury report, Childress said his team goes into the bye pretty healthy and will benefit from the week off.

“We are reasonably healthy,” the head coach said. “Individuals can get healthier. We have a handful of guys that will be staying here and trying to get healthiest this week.”

Aside from Winfield, players such as WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring), QB Brett Favre and LBs E.J. Henderson (knee) and Ben Leber (calf) will certainly benefit from an extra week of rest.

As for players who’ve managed to stay off the injury report, they too need the break to freshen their bodies and their minds for the 2nd half of the regular season and hopefully a playoff push.

“Whether they are going to sit in a deer stand or sit on the beach or contemplate their navel, whatever it is that they care to do, they are free to do as long as they are back here on Monday,” Childress explained. “It’s really a good group of guys. They have tremendous chemistry together. They play for each other. They play with each other. It’s a different, varied group of guys as all you guys know that are in the locker room every day.

“It’s a joy to come to work with these guys every day, and even though they need a time off, I know when time is up they will be anxious to get back and get on with it.”


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Will Berrian Play?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 1, 2009 – 1:55 pm

Vikings WR Bernard Berrian was listed as questionable on the Friday injury report because of a hamstring injury. The “questionable” designation means there’s a 50-50 chance that he’ll be able to go.

Against Green Bay in Week 4, the speedy Berrian scored on a 31-yard pass from Favre, a score that put the Vikings ahead 28-14 and ultimately provided the winning margin in a 30-23 victory. Berrian led all Vikings receivers on the day with 6 grabs for 75 yards.

Berrian’s importance to the Vikings offense is that he has exceptional speed, with the ability to beat coverage by simply out-running it. This opens up situations underneath for players such as WR Percy Harvin and TE Visanthe Shiancoe.

Speaking of Harvin, he was also listed as questionable on the injury report but was able to practice on Friday after missing Thursday’s practice. I would be surprised if he didn’t go today.


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Berrian, Henderson Limited; Harvin Sits

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 29, 2009 – 3:25 pm

There were some changes to the Vikings injury report on Thursday. WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring) and LB E.J. Henderson (knee) were non-participants on Wednesday but both were back on the field Thursday and limited in practice. WR Percy Harvin, meanwhile, practiced yesterday but did not participate today because of an illness.

Other Vikings who were limited: QB Brett Favre (hip), LB Jasper Brinkley (hamstring), LB Ben Leber (calf), CB Karl Paymah (quad), WR Darius Reynaud (hamstring) and FB Fahu Tahi (knee).

CB Antoine Winfield (foot) did not practice and DT Jimmy Kennedy (not injury related), who did not practice yesterday, was back today.

For the Packers, TE Jermichael Finley (knee), S Derrick Martin (hamstring) and C/G Jason Spitz (back) were held out for the 2nd consecutive day. T Chad Clifton (ankle), however, was limited and practiced for the 2nd consecutive day. Other limited participants on Thursday included QB Aaron Rodgers (foot), CB Charles Woodson (hip) and DE Jarius Wynn (hamstring).

FB Kory Hall (calf) and WR Jordy Nelson (knee) are listed as out while LB Clay Matthews, C Scott Wells (not injury related) and G Josh Sitton (hand) were full participants.


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Goal Line Stand and WR Berrian Combine Again

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 7, 2009 – 7:29 am

 Last year against the Chicago Bears at the Metrodome, the Vikings defense made a dramatic goal line stand and the offense immediately answered with a 99-yard TD pass from QB Gus Frerotte to WR Bernard Berrian. On Monday night against another division rival – Green Bay – the Vikings defense and offense once again teamed up for a nice combo platter.

This time, however, it was a Berrian TD reception that set the table.

The Vikings began the 3rd quarter with the ball and QB Brett Favre marched the troops on an 8-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 31-yard scoring strike to Berrian, giving the Vikings a 28-14 lead and control of the game.

On the ensuing drive, Green Bay drove the field as well and got down to the Vikings 1-yardline after 11 plays. And that’s where the Vikings defense bowed up, executing a series of impressive plays that ended with a dropped pass in the endzone and a turnover on downs.

“Well it (the goal line stand) is impressive because it was from a variety of different looks,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress pointed out. “They dove the fullback one time and (Chad) Greenway makes a tremendous play to stop him one-on-one and not let him get the ball in the endzone. (Ben) Leber makes a great play, just a pursuit with a guy dragging underneath and actually causes a loss there. But they (Green Bay) were (in) everything from three tight ends to empty (sets) and they defended it all. So hats off to those guys.

“As long as you give us a little bit of ground to defend we are going to defend it. We are not going to concede.”

Following that chain of events, the Vikings and Packers exchanged a few punts, with Minnesota P Chris Kluwe eventually pinning Green Bay on their own 1-yardline. It was thereafter that DE Jared Allen sacked QB Aaron Rodgers in the endzone and increased the lead to 30-14.


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Berrian Comes Through For The vikings.com Blog

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 7, 2009 – 7:15 am

Remember this blog entry? If you don’t feel like clicking on the link and then hitting the “back” button at the top of your internet browser, just know that the blog entry suggested that WR Bernard Berrian was due for a big game against the Green Bay Packers.

Berrian had little success against the Packers in the first 5 seasons of his career – 4 with the Chicago Bears and then last year as a member of the Vikings. So with that in mind, and with all of the pregame attention being focused on QB Brett Favre playing his former team of 16 years, I thought the Berrian angle was a sneaky little subplot that actually had a chance to come to fruition because Green Bay would be so focused on stopping RB Adrian Peterson.

And what do you know? It unfolded in just that manner. Berrian broke out of his shell and had the best game of his 2009 season, hauling in 6 receptions for 75 yards and 1 TD, a 31-yarder in the 3rd quarter that gave the Vikings a 28-14 lead and control of the game.

Berrian led all Vikings receivers in both receptions and yards, and he led a WR group that combined for 13 receptions, 184 receiving yards and 2 TDs.

So, thanks Bernard. We get enough things wrong around here, so it’s nice to be on the money for a change.


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Berrian To Return Punts If Reynaud Can’t Go

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 3, 2009 – 10:43 am

I took a question in this week’s vikings.com Mailbag about Darius Reynaud and who would return punts if Reynaud couldn’t play this weekend. Reynaud was injured during last week’s game and didn’t return, and he’s missed practice time this week because of the injury.

WR Bernard Berrian finished the game as the Vikings punt returner, even though WR Percy Harvin is listed on the team’s depth chart as the 2nd team punt returner. And on Friday during his weekly meeting with reporters, Vikings special teams coordinator Brian Murphy said it would be Berrian again who would take punt return duties if Reynaud can’t go.

We’ll know more about Reynaud’s chances of playing Monday night later today when the Vikings release their final injury report for the week.

For the season, Reynaud is averaging 17.3 yards per return on 7 chances.


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