Bernard Berrian is catching alot of heat these days from Minnesota Vikings fans. Let’s take a look at where it all went so wrong.
High School: Btwice played at Atwater High School in California while both his parents served at Castle Air Force Base. Huge salute out to both his parents for their service. Bernard was born in Spain, likely the result of the military on the move life. Two way starter in high school, and Northern California all state player.
Colllege: Berrian chose Fresno State. His freshmen year was real quiet. 5 catches and 1 TD for the year. His sophomore year was when it all came together, and he started to be known for the explosive long touchdowns. Junior year he made the All American Team as an All Purpose Player. Putting up big numbers through the air and on special team. Before his senior year, he has rated 5th best receiving prospect in the nation by Mel Kiper. An injury cost him his senior season, but he was able to redshirt and get another year. Berrian had a very nice college career, and a very promising professional career.
School: Fresno State
Career Receiving: 182 Rec, 2588 Yds, 14.2 Avg, 23 TD
Career Punt Returns: 97 Ret, 1140 Yds, 11.8 Avg, 3 TD
Career Scoring: 28 TD, 1 2PM, 170 Pts
The Bears: Berrian was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 3rd round in the 2004 NFL draft. It was a bit of a rough start for Berrian, playing the role of backup wide receiver and waiting for a chance to shine. Nagging injuries would force him to miss games.
2006 was Berrian’s coming out party. That season he was the second leading receiver for the Bears, and then had a HUGE game in the playoffs versus the Seattle Seahawks. 5 catches for 105 yards and a very important 65 yard touchdown in an overtime win. The next week versus the Saints caught a 33 yard diving touchdown to help put the Chicago Bears into the Super Bowl. Berrian had a disappointing Super Bowl game, only catching 4 balls for 38 yards. At the end of the season, he was a free agent and the Bears let him go.
The Vikings: As an unrestricted free agent, on March 1 2008, Berrian signed a huge six year $42 million dollar contract with the Minnesota Vikings. $16 million of that was reported to have been guaranteed money. This contract made Berrian the 4th highest paid receiver in the game behind Fitzgerald, Moss, and Owens.
2008 Season: Things got off to a great start. A 86 yard td and a 99 yd td from the legendary Gus Ferrotte (against his former team the Bears) made Berrian a big play threat. Berrian finished the season with 48 catches, 964 yards and 7 touchdowns. Also worth noting his 20.1 yards per catch led the league. Still a young receiving, things were only looking up. So the question is, where does that put him among the top receivers in the league now that he is being paid like one?
Berian was 24th in yards. 22 players finished with over 1000 yards. He was 12th in touchdowns. Elite? Not quite. Knocking on the door? Well, you could atleast make that argument given a few variables effect his performance such as his young age, his quarterback seemed to struggle, and the Vikings were a bit more of a running team. Certainly not elite.
2009 Season: Enter Brett Favre. Berrian caught more balls for less yards and less td’s. 55 receptions for 618 yards and 4 td’s. In a season where wide receivers had big years, Berrian fell off the map. Andre Johnson had over 1500 yards receiving that year, and Randy Moss had 13 touchdowns. Even guys like Miles Austin, and Reggie Wayne had huge years. Berrian finished 61st in the league in receiving yards. He was tied for 53rd in the league for touchdowns. His 11.2 yards per catch, a stat in which he led the league the previous year, put him at 157th in the league. Berrian would later say that he felt “frozen out” by Favre during Favre’s two years with the Vikings.
2010 Season: The diseased 2010 season that saw the Vikings completely fall apart wasn’t any better for Bernard Berrian. In fact, things maybe couldn’t have been much worse. Berrian finished with only 28 catches for 252 yards, averaging 9 yards per catch. He also finished with zero touchdowns.
2011 Season: Just after the lock out ended and within the first few days of camp, Tom Pelisserro of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities reported that Berrian’s restructured contract cut his 2011 base salary from $3.9 million to $1.9 million, with possible incentives to earn the difference back. Berrian would also become a free agent at the end of the year. A new coaching staff replaced the Childress era. Head Coach Leslie Frazier hired offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave to lead the offense. The Vikings also brought in veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb, and drafted Christian Ponder in the first round of the draft.
1st 5 games: After a strong training camp, there were a few within or close to the Vikings that predicted a breakout year for Berrian. Or atleast close to the numbers he had put up a few years ago.
- “Expect a big bounce back from Bernard Berrian” by Vikings.com
- “Why Bernard Berrian will be an impact player this year” by the Bleacher Report
- “Vikes predictions” by Paul Allen of KFAN.com. PA predicted 900 yards and 7 tds.
Here are the stats:
Game 1. 2 catches, 12 yards.
Game 2. 0 catches, 0 yards.
Game 3. 2 receptions, 64 yards including a 49 yard touchdown.
Game 4. 0 catches, 0 yards.
Then came the week of game 5. First, Berrian got involved in a silly twitter war with a Minnesota State rep who is a big stadium supporter and also a double amputee Iraq War Veteran. This story should be a non story, a non issue for just about any other player. Berrian simply didn’t know this, and was responded to a fan when frustrated. Should have been a non issue. Instead, because of Berrian’s lack of performance on the field, he is under the microscope.
Game 5 comes and we find out Berrian has been deactivated. We later find out he was deactivated for missing team meetings, which is plural, meetingS. Notice the S. How do you miss multiple meetings when you’re team is 0-4, you’re looked at as a leader, and your own personal play needs to step up?
So now we sit, Game 6 of the 2011 season with a big Sunday Night Football game against Berrian’s old team, the Chicago Bears. Can Berrian turn this season around? His career? Where did things go so wrong?
It’s hard to tell. 2009 was the down year. Everything has been worse since then. So what happened just before the 2009 season?
Berrian appeared on the Ultimate Catch, VH1 reality TV show featuring Chad Ochocinco who was “in search of love”. Not only was the show terrible, and full of ego, but then rumors surfaced that Berrian got involved with one of the girls Ochocinco was dating. Too much drama.
Has that drama carried over to the field in locker room? Has Berrian lost a step? Can he regain his big play status? Can he help the Vikings win?
What do you think?