Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Posts about Bernard Berrian

Go Figure: Jared Allen on pace to shatter NFL sack record

Posted by: Updated: October 11, 2011 - 11:19 AM

As the Vikings prepare for Sunday’s Week 6 game with Chicago at Soldier Field, here’s a look at five eye-opening numbers.

Since the NFL playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, five teams that have started the season 1-4 have rebounded to reach the playoffs. So we’re saying there’s a chance. Last week, we talked at length about the 1992 San Diego Chargers, the only team in history to lose its first four games and reach the postseason. Now the discussion shifts to also include the 1993 Oilers, the 2002 Jets, the 2002 Titans and the 2004 Packers. Anyone have contact numbers for Jack Pardee or Laveranues Coles?
44, 516, 3
Catches, receiving yards and touchdowns by the Vikings’ entire receiving quartet of Michael Jenkins, Percy Harvin, Devin Aromashodu and Bernard Berrian. Harvin is the team leader in receiving yards with 183. That ranks 86th in the NFL this season. For comparison sake, Detroit’s Calvin Johnson has 29 receptions, 451 yards and nine TDs all by himself through five games this season.
Plays of greater than 25 yards given up by the Bears this season, including nine the past two weeks in games against Carolina and Detroit. A once-vaunted Chicago defense is starting to look a bit old and slow. The Lions delivered two big-gain TDs Monday with Johnson scoring on a 73-yard catch and Jahvid Best busting off an 88-yard touchdown run. Panthers rookie Cam Newton torched the Bears for 409 total yards in Week 4, including five completions of at least 25 yards.
Quarterback rating this season for Tarvaris Jackson, who wasn’t re-signed by the Vikings after his contract expired last season. The team later traded for Donovan McNabb. This year Jackson is completing 63.1 percent of his passes, averaging 202.4 passing yards per game and has six touchdown tosses and five interceptions. McNabb has a .568 completion percentage and is averaging 169.8 passing yards per contest with four TD passes and two picks. His quarterback rating sits at 80.0.
Sack total Jared Allen will finish with this season if he continues on his current pace. Allen has seven sacks in the past three games and seems well positioned to make a run at breaking Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5 sacks set in 2001. Last season, Allen had only one sack through his first five games and finished with 11. The Vikings' single-season sack record is 21, set by Chris Doleman in 1989.

Access Vikings: Winfield, Berrian inactive for Vikings; Kluwe will play

Posted by: Updated: October 9, 2011 - 10:44 AM

The inactive list has been released here at Mall of America Field. And for the Vikings, the quest to stop Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald has just gotten a little tougher. After not practicing all week, cornerback Antoine Winfield will not play this afternoon, held out as he deals with a neck injury he suffered last weekend in Kansas City. Winfield's injury is said to be muscular in nature. The cornerback had significant stiffness in his neck all week. And while it improved throughout the week, it hasn't healed to the point where he will play this afternoon.

As for punter Chris Kluwe, his hamstring injury isn't bothersome enough to keep him out of action this afternoon. Kluwe hasn't missed a game since 2005.

And then there's Berrian, a surprise addition to the inactive list today. The struggling wideout has only two catches this season and last week found himself in the middle of a Twitter controversy after he engaged in a feisty back-and-forth with state representative John Kriesel. It is unclear yet whether today's move to keep him inactive is due to disciplinary action.

Michael Jenkins should likely start in Berrian's place today against a vulnerable Cardinals secondary. Berrian played in all 16 games for the Vikings in 2009 and missed two games in 2010 with a groin injury. Today, however, appears to be the first time he will be inactive as a healthy scratch.

Other inactives for the Vikings are Mistral Raymond, Xavier Adibi, Brandon Fusco, DeMarcus Love and D'Aundre Reed.


Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian explains his role in Twitter storm

Posted by: Updated: October 3, 2011 - 3:37 PM

Ah, yes. Twitter controversies.

Let’s be honest. They’re always a little entertaining, a bit awkward and mostly nonsensical. And today’s case of Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian vs. state representative John Kriesel fits all the above criteria.

It started Sunday night when, through the Tweetosphere, Kriesel openly mocked Berrian’s self-evaluation that his lack of production the past four seasons hasn’t been the result of getting open. Tweeted Kriesel: “If you want to follow a hilarious twitter account, try @B_Twice who says that he’s open a lot and should get the ball more.”

When Berrian snapped back, thinking that Kriesel was just another negative fan and not realizing he was a state legislator with his hands in the Vikings’ efforts to get a new stadium, the media machine of 2011 had all the requisite pieces to assemble a fun-to-talk-about (if certainly overblown) controversy.

This afternoon, in a phone call with the Star Tribune, Kriesel didn’t seem offended by the edgy back-and-forth with Berrian and expressed amazement at how big of a deal the story had quickly become. Later, Berrian met with reporters in the Vikings locker room. And while amused by the hullabaloo, he also grew quite testy at times when discussing the Twitter war.

“I wouldn’t really say it was a war,” Berrian said. “Nobody got shot. Just some friendly words going back and forth between two people.”

Among the highlights of Berrian’s Monday afternoon address:

  • Kriesel’s assertion that he started the whole thing? Berrian agreed. “I rebutted. I can’t start [something] with a rebuttal. But I mean, there’s no blame to go around. It’s just words going back and forth between two people.”
  • Berrian’s assertion that he’s been open a lot throughout the past four years? He’s sticking to that. “I’m not saying anything about [quarterbacks] ignoring [me]. I made a comment about being open. Yeah, I’ve been open for the last four years. There’s nothing to deny that. I’ve said we can go watch the film if you want to watch the film with me. That’s the proof right there.”
  • Kriesel has said that he wants to take advantage of the offer to watch the film with Berrian. When told of that, Berrian’s eyes grew big. “I don’t know anything about that,” he said. “If he can get down here and watch it, I’ll be glad to definitely watch it. Put it that way.”
  • Berrian did say he had a discussion with head coach Leslie Frazier about learning to ignore criticism on the internet. But the Vikings wide receiver wouldn’t go so far as to stamp his behavior with a “regret” label.
  • “Regret's a funny word. I don’t regret anything that I've done in my life, really,” Berrian said. “I've made a decision and if some things that have happened are wrong, they're wrong. But I don't really try to regret anything.”

Frazier: McNabb will start Sunday

Posted by: Updated: October 3, 2011 - 1:43 PM

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier sees a mixed bag with his team, an 0-4 squad Frazier feels is "on the verge of getting things turned" but which needs to clean up its effort in several key areas to do so. Yet while Frazier said Monday afternoon at his press conference that he was considering some personnel changes, no shake-up was on the itinerary at quarterback where Donovan McNabb will be the starter Sunday at Mall of America Field against Arizona.

Said Frazier: "Based on these four games we've had this season, we're not at a point where we're making a quarterback change. There are a lot of things that we need to correct on our football team based on the fact that we're 0-4. But at this point, a quarterback change isn't one of those changes."

Frazier said he liked some of the progress McNabb made in Sunday's 22-17 loss at Kansas City. McNabb was 18-for-30 for 202 yards with two TD passes and an interception. McNabb connected in the first quarter on a 34-yard scoring strike to Devin Aromashodu and added a 1-yard touchdown toss to Michael Jenkins in the fourth quarter.

"If you look at Donovan's performance on Sunday, there was much more consistency in some of his throws," Frazier said. "Plus, he hit that play with Devin. That was a big play for us, something we've been hoping to do from the beginning of the season. We finally got one and hope to see more of that to come."

Translation: for this week anyway, the Christian Ponder Watch across the Twin Cities will remain on hold.

Berrian apologizes for Twiter exchange, Kriesel 'over it': Frazier said wide receiver Bernard Berrian reached out to state Rep. John Kriesel (R-Cottage Grove) after the two had an uncomfortable war of words on Twitter on Sunday evening. According to Frazier, Bernard called Kriesel with a formal apology for the exchange, a wise move considering that Kriesel is a co-sponsor of the Vikings stadium bill.

"That was encouraging," Frazier said. "We want to make sure that our focus is on football and trying to win football games. And I think going forward, [Bernard] will handle things the right way."

When reached by the Star Tribune on his cell phone about the tiff, Kriesel said he had gotten a voice message from Berrian and thought the whole thing had gotten blown out of proportion.

"I'm shocked that this is one of the bigger stories of the day," said Kriesel, a proponent of a new Vikings stadium. "But that be life in Minnesota with the Vikings, just one of those things."

Johnson dealing with triceps injury:

 Left tackle Charlie Johnson missed the final series of Sunday's loss in Kansas City but, according to Frazier, should be clear for practice this week. Johnson was injured on Minnesota's fourth quarter touchdown drive, saying after the game that he had hurt his elbow. Frazier said Monday it was a triceps issue that shouldn't limit the veteran tackle this week.



It gets worse: Bernard Berrian bickers on Twitter with state representative

Posted by: Updated: October 3, 2011 - 12:13 PM

Vikings wide receiver Bernard Berrian doubled his season reception total Sunday. His second catch of the year came in the fourth quarter of a 22-17 loss at Kansas City, a key 20-yard grab on fourth down that kept the Vikings’ final touchdown drive alive. But to hear Berrian tell it, his unimpressive numbers for the 2011 season (two catches, 37 yards) are misleading and not a true indication of how often he has gotten open this season.

But then when a Vikings fan on Twitter – and not just any fan, but John Kriesel, a state representative – laughed at Berrian’s assertion, the veteran wide receiver did little to change the perception that he can be exceptionally thin-skinned, firing back from his @B_Twice Twitter account.

Tweeted Kriesel from his @johnkriesel account: “If you want to follow a hilarious twitter account, try @B_Twice (Bernard Berrian) who says that he’s open a lot and should get the ball more.”

Responded Berrian: "@johnkriesel Anytime u wanna watch the film with me. Not just one game but all of them. And if not sit down n shut up!!”

Turns out Kriesel is a veteran of the Iraq war and has had both of his legs amputated. So needless to say Berrian has drawn significant heat for the exchange already, not only for the insensitivity of his comments but even more so for his petulance and inability to block out outside criticism.

Late last week, Berrian had told the Star Tribune that the criticism was “getting easier and easier to deal with.”

“I hate to say this,” Berrian explained. "But it’s almost like you get used to it. Look, I can only control what I can do. And I can’t let myself get stressed out over things that I can’t control.”

This most reason Twitter outburst however seems to indicate otherwise. And it’s yet another sign that the frustrations of the Vikings’ 0-4 start are beginning to boil over.


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters