NFC North High Energy Player of the Week


A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 9.

Remember Bernard Berrian? The fleet-footed receiver the Minnesota Vikings guaranteed $16 million in 2008 to be their No. 1 receiver? Oh, yeah. He reappeared Sunday at the Metrodome.

Demoted to reserve status following the trade for Randy Moss, Berrian re-captured his starting role and caught nine passes in the Vikings' 27-24 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The production tied his career high, set in 2007, and doubled his season total over the first seven games of the season.

Berrian's early-season ineffectiveness played a big role in the Moss trade, and you wonder if the demotion didn't wake him up a bit. Moss' departure last week gave Berrian another opportunity. And after failing to find much chemistry with quarterback Brett Favre, Berrian was targeted for 11 passes Sunday.

"He had a very good week of practice," coach Brad Childress said. "Maybe a little extra hop in his step."

No catch was more important than the slant pass Berrian took 22 yards in overtime, putting the Vikings in field goal range. Berrian is known as a deep threat, but he's also an exceptional runner after short passes. Given their pass protection issues, the Vikings would be wise to continue focusing on that route with him.

"He certainly has the capabilities to catch the football coming inside," Childress said. "... He is a good slant runner. He is a good in-break runner. ... It's nice to be able to get him those quick-hitters in a little bit of air because those slants typically end up 15-18 yards down the field, if you can connect on them."