Tarvaris Jackson hasn't had a receiver like Bernard Berrian to help his offense in the past. The quarterback is just getting used to working him, but already he is seeing a difference.
Training camp is less than a week old, but the Vikings are already seeing the difference their new players can make. While he hasn't received nearly as much national attention as DE Jared Allen
, Bernard Berrian
is making an impact on the Vikings offense almost from the day he arrived.
Nobody had been more impressed than quarterback Tarvaris Jackson
. After spending his first season as the starter with nobody that consistently stretched the field, having Berrian and his deep speed have made a big difference early.
"He's been making big plays up and down the field each and every day," Jackson said. "He's been running by guys, and that is going to help our running game out with him stretching the field, and if we are able to connect like we have been doing in practice more consistently in games, it's going to help our guys out. Our offensive line would love to see seven guys in the box instead of eight, so that will help out a lot."
With Adrian Peterson
expected to be the focal point of the offense, if the opposition focuses too much on stopping A.D. with eight in the box, Berrian will make them pay, according to Jackson, because he gives the Vikings something teams didn't see last year – a consistent deep threat with good hands that can take a reception to the house on almost any play.
"He's a nice change-up for us," Jackson said. "He's a nice addition for our offense because that is one thing we lacked last year, going down the field. We have guys on the team that can do that, but just by adding him, it's another threat that we can have more consistently and just open up things for the other guys. The other guys should be happy because with him back there you get that extra safety on the hash, and it's going to open up things for them."
Marcus Johnson is getting opportunities with the first-team offensive line. Last year, Ryan Cook started all 16 games at right tackle, but it appears as though the competition will be a little more up for grabs during the preseason this year.
NFL officials were on hand at practice Tuesday to discuss the changes in rules and points of emphasis for 2008. Each year, the league visits every team to discuss the rules changes and areas in which enforcement will be stricter. The most prominent change is the push-out rule concerning receivers being forced out of bounds by defenders. In addition the five-yard facemask has been eliminated, making all facemask penalties 15 yards. A hand on the facemask in which the defender lets go will no longer be a foul.
The Vikings will have one more day of practice before departing Thursday for a shared practice with Kansas City at the Chiefs training camp in River Falls, Wisc.
Brett Favre made it official Monday by submitting his reinstatement paperwork with the league. Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to approve the reinstatement today.