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Berrian Makes For Interesting Subplot

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 2, 2009 – 1:31 pm

Obviously the main story surrounding Monday night’s Vikings-Packers game is QB Brett Favre facing his former team. But there are several other interesting subplots to pay attention to as well.

Bernard Berrian is the subject of one of those storylines. We 1st mentioned this in today’s “Key Matchups” feature, which you can read by clicking here.

Berrian is now in his 2nd year with the Vikings, so he’s getting a taste of the rivalry that exists between the Vikings and Packers. But Berrian also spent the first 4 years of his career with Chicago, who calls the Packers their biggest rival as well. Suffice it to say, Berrian has just as much reason and passion for beating the Bears as anyone.

In 8 career games against Green Bay, Berrian has 16 catches for 306 yards and 1 TD. Those aren’t exactly startling numbers, so perhaps Berrian is due for a big game against the Pack. On Monday night, he’ll get his 1st of 2 regular season chances in 2009 to pick up the production against the Vikings rival.


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Vikings Inactives

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 20, 2009 – 10:27 am

Each game day 90 minutes prior to kickoff, teams are required to disclose their 8 inactive players and emergency QB. The Vikings inactives are QB Sage Rosenfels, WR Jaymar Johnson, WR Greg Lewis, CB Asher Allen, S Husain Abdullah, LB Erin Henderson, Kory Lichtensteiger and DT Jimmy Kennedy.

There are a couple of changes from last week’s inactives. In Cleveland, DT Letroy Guion was up and Fred Evans was down. This week against the Lions, both Evans and Guion are up but DT Jimmy Kennedy is down. S Jamarca Sanford was also down last week, but this week he’ll be active and will play in his 1st NFL regular season game, while Abdullah will be inactive.

The QB situation will be the same this week as it was in the season-opener. Tarvaris Jackson will backup Favre and Rosenfels will be the emergency QB.

With both Johnson and Lewis inactive, it seems Berrian continues to recover from his hamstring injury and didn’t come away from last week’s game in Cleveland any worse for the wear.


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Childress Expects Berrian’s Opportunities To Increase

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 14, 2009 – 3:34 pm

Vikings WR Bernard Berrian’s status all week leading into Sunday’s season opener was in doubt as he continued to recover from a hamstring injury that was suffered during the team’s 1st preseason game in Indianapolis. Berrian was able to play against the Browns but he wasn’t able to haul in any catches and was only thrown to twice.

But Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Monday that he expects Berrian’s productivity will increase as he works his way back into the fold and develops some synergy with QB Brett Favre.

“He played fifty or fifty-five plays,” Childress said. “He played very well in our run game. He just didn’t have that many opportunities around the ball. I would think that would increase as he spends more time and [develops] a little more stamina…Brett learning him a little better. I didn’t see any ill-effects in terms of the hamstring at all.”

The Vikings head coach also cited Cleveland’s scheme as a reason Berrian, and the rest of the Vikings WRs, weren’t able to fill up the box score.

“He (Favre) had those couple shots…he had the one up to Percy and I think he had one up to Berrian,” Childress recalled. “But there was a lot of soft shell stuff. A lot of fire zone stuff where they kind of had an umbrella-type of coverage with the safeties hanging around. It was going to be hard to throw it past them. So we took what was there and took the shots when we had some bump and run looks that we were able to utilize. It’s kind of how they played their coverage. (Browns Head Coach) Eric’s (Mangini) a back end guy, so everything that they do is mindful of the back end to the front end.”

Another reason to expect Berrian’s opportunities in the passing game to increase is because of Adrian Peterson’s 180-yard, 3-TD output on Sunday against Cleveland. You can be sure the Detroit Lions, the Vikings opponents next week, are studying film from the Vikings-Browns game to try and find a way to slow down the Vikings explosive running game.

Something tells me the Lions won’t be using much umbrella coverage next Sunday.


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Vikings WRs Find Way To Contribute

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 14, 2009 – 2:42 pm

Although it might not have been in the “receptions” and “receiving yards” columns, Vikings WRs helped fill up the box score on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. The WR group combined for just 5 catches and 53 receiving yards, but Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress showered the group with praise for their blocking efforts in the run game.

“All of our wide receivers, when you break runs that long, you see people pressed up,” Childress said. “Percy had guys knocked on the ground. Not coming across the field and knocking somebody down, I’m talking about stalk blocking somebody and putting them on their back. Sidney Rice was involved in the run game. Bernard Berrian was exceptional out there with the ball coming around the edge.”

The blocking efforts by WRs aided RB Adrian Peterson in his 25-carry, 180-yard effort. In fact, Peterson’s longest run of the day, a 64-yarder in the 4th quarter, was sprung not only because of Peterson’s blend of speed and strength, but also because of 2 key blocks from Rice along the sideline on Browns CB Brandon McDonald.

Typically we expect WRs to make a difference in the game by hauling in acrobatic catches and getting into the open field. But it’s pleasing to see the Vikings receiver group giving just as much effort in blocking downfield as they give to catching the ball downfield.


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WR Berrian Active; Jackson To Backup Favre

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 13, 2009 – 10:38 am

The Vikings have announced the active/inactive players for today’s season opener in Chicago Cleveland and WR Bernard Berrian, who has been battling a hamstring injury and whose status for today’s game was in question, is among the 45 active players for the Vikings.

Inactive for the Vikings today will be: QB Sage Rosenfels, WR Jaymar Johnson, WR Greg Lewis, S Jamarca Sanford, LB Erin Henderson, C Kory Lichtensteiger and DT Fred Evans. Rosenfels will be the 3rd (emergency) QB today and Tarvaris Jackson will backup Brett Favre.

It’s interesting that both WRs Jaymar Johnson and Greg Lewis are inactive. That leaves the Vikings with 4 receivers active for today, indicating that Berrian isn’t expected to be hampered by the injury. Berrian was listed as questionable in the Vikings injury report on Friday.

It’s also interesting that Evans is inactive. Looks like Letroy Guion, a 5th round draft choice last year by the Vikings, will get a chance to play significant minutes today behind Kevin Williams and Pat Williams.


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Vikings Mum On Berrian’s Availability For Sunday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 11, 2009 – 3:54 pm

Vikings speedy WR Bernard Berrian injured his hamstring during the team’s 1st preseason game and hasn’t been back to full speed since. He’s progressively worked his way back from the injury and was finally able to practice for a full week with his teammates leading up to this weekend’s season opener in Cleveland.

But while he was able to participate in practice this week, he was limited all week and his status on the latest injury report still leaves a question as to what his availability will be on Sunday against the Browns. Specifically, Berrian was listed as a limited participant today and his status for the game is questionable, which means there is a 50-50 chance he’ll play.

“He’s progressing, still,” Childress said. “This is his first full week of practice so he’s getting up to speed. But I wouldn’t say he is a 100 percent guy right now. You don’t miss three weeks and be 100 percent.”

Asked if there was a chance he’d hold Berrian out, Childress said: “I will consult with him and the medical people about that. That will be kind of the litmus.

“We will just have to see. We got a walk through tomorrow. We just have to see, I’m not sure if it will clear itsself up tomorrow or clear itsself up at game time. We will just have to listen to his body.”

At this point, it probably is hard for the team or Berrian to know if the player will suit up on Sunday. Hamstring injuries can be temperamental, plus the team and Berrian will have to balance the value of pushing through the injury and playing on Sunday against the value of resting one more week and giving it an opportunity to get to 100% before going back onto the field in a game situation.

Either way, it serves the Vikings no advantage to declare a decision now, no matter how many times the question is asked or how many times the question is re-phrased. Especially if a decision made today could very well be reversed on game day.


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First Injury Report Released

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 9, 2009 – 3:15 pm

The Vikings wrapped up practice this afternoon and Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress released his team’s 1st injury report of 2009.

Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, teams are required to list players who are dealing with injuries and what that injury is, along with the players’ level of participation during that day’s practice. On Fridays only, one of 4 designations must be applied to each player regarding the likelihood of that player participating in the upcoming game. Those 4 designations are: out (0% chance of playing), doubtful (25% chance of playing), questionable (50% chance of playing) and probable (virtual certainty).

Three players appear on the Vikings injury report for today. Bernard Berrian (hamstring) and Jim Kleinsasser (hand) are listed as limited participants and Erin Henderson (calf) did not participate.

For the Browns, 8 players appeared on the injury report. OL Rex Hadnot (knee) is already listed as out for Sunday’s game. RB Cedric Peerman (thigh) did not participate. Listed as limited participants were LB David Bowens (knee), RB Jerome Harrison (knee), DT Shaun Rogers (foot) and DB Eric Wright (knee). Full participants were LB Alex Hall (shoulder) and Minnesota native TE Steve Heiden (knee).


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More From Mangini On Sunday’s QBs

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 9, 2009 – 11:03 am

Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini, who earlier this week said he’s decided on a starting QB but will not announce it, chatted with Twin Cities reporters today via conference call and didn’t give any hints as to who he’d be starting. The decision is between Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn.

Asked “Who is going to start at quarterback for you,” Mangini replied with a laugh, “It’ll be one of those two guys.”

Click here to listen to the audio file of Mangini’s conference call.

Though he’s been perceived to be uncooperative at times with the media, Mangini was loquacious today with reporters, especially with respect to the QB situation that both the Browns and Vikings face.

“They’ve been great throughout the process and I’ve been really impressed with the way they’ve handled it,” Mangini said of Anderson and Quinn. “Their competitiveness, their intensity, the way that they’ve helped each other and supported each other throughout it and they’ve helped and supported the team throughout the process has been outstanding. I really have confidence in both guys.”

Asked about the advantage to be gained from keeping the identity of his starting QB a mystery, Mangini explained: ““I’m not saying it’s necessarily going to be the difference in the outcome. But when you prepare, you try to be as thorough as you possibly can. And if you have two guys to get ready for and look at, that adds some more time to the preparation. You’re always working as hard as you can to give the guys the best possible plan based on the information that you have. That’s what we all try to do. The better the information, the more pointed the research can be.”

Aside from his own QB situation, Mangini was also asked about the Vikings starting QB. Both Mangini and Brett Favre were with the New York Jets last year, and Mangini had nothing but positive things to say for his former signal-caller.

“I thought he was able to develop a rhythm very quickly (in New York with a new offense),” the Browns coach said. “The great thing about Brett is he is equal opportunity. If you’re open, he’s going to throw you the ball.

“The other thing is, you’re always alive on any play. He can go to the front side, he can go to the back side, he can keep plays alive. I think that’s always exciting for receivers.”

It was interesting to gain Mangini’s perspective on how Favre would affect the Vikings offense because A) he’s a defensive coach at heart, having worked in New England under Bill Belichick, and B) he coached Favre last year in New York. Mangini thinks Favre will have a dynamic impact, both on the field and off it, on the offense but also on specific players in the Vikings offense.

“I know with Bernard Berrian, he’s already an explosive, big-play guy,” Mangini said. “Brett Favre’s arm strength and the things that he can do, that’s only going to help someone like him (Berrian). I think there are a lot of other players that are really going to benefit from having him around, not just from his physical ability, but how he is as a teammate, how he approaches the game.

“He definitely has fun, but he does it in the right context. I was impressed with how humble he was and how he approached things coming into a new environment. I can’t say enough good things about him in my experience with him.”


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Berrian Progressing Toward Return

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 28, 2009 – 2:20 pm

Vikings speedy WR Bernard Berrian didn’t play against the Chiefs last Friday night because of a leg injury he suffered in the team’s 1st preseason game on August 14 at Indianapolis. But the 6-year pro has been back out on the practice field lately participating in portions of practice.

Head coach Brad Childress, like the rest of the NFL’s head coaches, prefers not to address injuries in the preseason but when asked specifically about his star WR after practice on Friday he did say that Berrian has “a chance” to play on Monday night in Houston.

“He’s progressing,” Childress said. “To put a percentage on where he’s at…you always have to be careful. Guys will tell you when they’re ready to go back; them and the medical staff. He’s pushing through.”

With Brett Favre slated to play the 1st half on Monday, it would be beneficial for Berrian to be on the field for at least a portion of the first 2 quarters. The QB and WR haven’t played in a game together since Favre’s arrival a little more than a week ago, but the 2 have worked on the side before and after practice to begin developing a rapport.

However beneficial it might be for Berrian to get some reps with Favre during the preseason, it’s clearly more of a priority to ensure Berrian is back to full strength once the regular season commences on September 13. Berrian was a vital piece in the Vikings passing attack in 2008, leading the team in receiving yards, hauling in 4 of the team’s 5 longest TD passes and leading the league in yards per catch (20.1) among WRs with 40 or more grabs.


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Vikings Conclude Day 2 of Practices

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 1, 2009 – 10:40 pm

The Vikings concluded Day 2 of practices on Saturday by practicing under the lights in Blakeslee Stadium with a healthy crowd in attendance to watch. The environment was a family-friendly one because the Vikings put on junior cheerleading and junior football clinics prior to the team’s 7:00 practice.

Following the practice, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said that QB Tarvaris Jackson, who left Saturday morning’s practice with a leg injury, will be “just fine.” He also had no update on the Percy Harvin situation. Harvin has yet to sign his rookie contract and cannot report to Mankato until he does so.

In Jackson’s absence, Sage Rosenfels took the majority of the 1st team snaps but 2nd-year player John David Booty also saw work with the 1st and 2nd teams.

Rosenfels connected on deep passes with speedy WR Bernard Berrian on a couple of occasions, prompting the crowd to erupt in excitement. On one play, Berrian slipped past CB Karl Paymah at the line of scrimmage, immediately waived his hand in the air to signal he was going to be open, and Rosenfels stepped into the pass and hit Berrian deep down the right sideline. Later in the practice, Rosenfels hit Berrian with another deep pass, this time down the right sideline.

WR Sidney Rice also made an impressive catch during practice, hauling in a pass from Sage Rosenfels in the middle of the field on a ball that he didn’t see until it was almost to his body.

The team won’t practice tomorrow morning and will be back on the field in the afternoon for a 3:00-4:55 practice. Following that practice, Childress will be made available to the media and we’ll have complete coverage right here on vikings.com.


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