B. Berrian and Blackberry blackmail bandits

Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian was allegedly the victim of an extortion attempt, according to a lawsuit that was unsealed this week.

Bernard Berrian didn't make much news during the 2010 season, but "B-Twice" has a couple of other "B" words he's talking about now – BlackBerry and blackmail.

According to a federal lawsuit filed in Minnesota and unsealed Thursday, Berrian claims that he was blackmailed by a California couple for $30,000 after he inadvertently left his Blackberry at an ATM in Las Vegas in October, presumably during the Vikings' bye week the weekend of Oct. 2-3. On Jan. 4, the couple – Ron Jones and his girlfriend Clarice Lankford, allegedly contacted Berrian, demanding $30,000 or they would sell the Blackberry to the highest bidder.

According to the lawsuit, the couple was reportedly shopping the Blackberry to different media outlets that purchase damaging information on celebrities. Berrian claimed in the court filing that the Blackberry contained personal financial information, including his Social Security number and "personal photographs and video of Berrian and third parties not intended for public distribution."

In an ironic twist, an investigator hired by Berrian's attorneys tracked down Lankford, who works as an administrative assistant in Oakland for Foley & Mansfield, a law firm based in Minneapolis.

On Jan. 13, U.S. District Court Judge Joan Ericksen issued a temporary restraining order forbidding Jones or Lankford from selling the BlackBerry or using any of the information contained within it, as well as forbidding them from throwing it away or destroying it.

The BlackBerry was eventually returned to Berrian, but the extortion case is expected to continue. A hearing is schedule for the first week of February to see if the case will proceed to trial.


  • The Vikings announced that the 16th Annual Minnesota Vikings Arctic Blast Snowmobile Rally will be held Feb. 12-13 on Mille Lacs Lake in Central Minnesota. Several current and former Vikings players, as well as cheerleaders and team mascot Viktor the Viking will be part of the festivities. Pre-registration is underway, with the proceeds going to the Vikings Children's Fund. Those who register prior to the pre-registration deadline can register by paying $25 and all pre-registrants will be eligible to win a pair of 2011 season tickets. Procrastinators can register the day of the event. The day-of fee will be $35. For more information on the Arctic Blast rally, visit the Vikings official website at www.vikings.com.

  • From the Department of Redundancy Department comes this: On ESPN 1000 Radio in Chicago, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher was asked if he was going to cheer for the Packers (their hated rival) in next Sunday's Super Bowl. His response was quite simple – "Hell no, I'm not cheering for the Packers in the Super Bowl." He went on to say, "I have a ton of respect for that organization and the head coach (Mike McCarthy), but don't want them to win the Super Bowl. They're in our division, so I want them to lose." So much for cheering for the team that killed your own Super Bowl dream. Should anything else have been expected?

    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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