Notebook: Berrian not so deep in rankings

Bernard Berrian's deep-threat presence has begun to emerge on a somewhat consistent basis the last three weeks. See where he stands among the league leaders and what he and head coach Brad Childress had to say about the different ways he is being used. Plus, get a gander at some other interesting statistics to chew on.

One of the favorite sayings for head coach Brad Childress last year, when trying to explain the difficulties of former Viking Troy Williamson, was "receivers by definition should receive."

Williamson, the former first-round draft choice brought in to replace Randy Moss, did not live up to that definition and was eventually traded for a pittance last offseason. Shortly thereafter, the Vikings were holding Bernard Berrian as their free-agent hostage to make him their next deep threat, but through three games that move was under scrutiny as well.

But Berrian did what he does best. As he has run away from defensive backs the last three weeks, he also left in his wake what had been a growing wonderment if would be worth it.

In the last three games, however, Berrian has had 16 receptions for 319 yards, with him going over 100 yards the last two games. In order to get him the ball more often, the Vikings have been moving him around.

"Just putting him in different spots as opposed to just the split end receiver spot," Childress said. "That's just offense. You move people around whether you empty the backfield or have him in the slot on the back side with the running back on the outside. You try to stick him in different spots. We try to do that with numbers of people, whether it's tight ends or running backs, so that you put some indecision into the defense's mind."

In particular, that worked on the Vikings' longest play of the season – and what might have been a game-saving play – Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Berrian didn't go deep to catch the ball, but after taking a short reception in stride across the middle of the field, he eventually ended up deep. The first would-be tackler slipped off him, running back Chester Taylor delivered a crushing block to the next defender and the rest was on Berrian's speed, a battle he usually doesn't lose. "It was an option play, anytime I get a chance to get open and get past the secondary. Gus (Frerotte) held the ball long enough for me to get open and Chester made a great block downfield, which allowed me to get to the sideline," Berrian said.

The middle linebacker blitzed and Berrian saw an opportunity in the middle of the defense.

"That is usually where I am looking. The dude that was covering me, I'm bumping on him, and the Mike (middle linebacker) blitzed, so I am taking that anytime the middle is wide open," he said.

That led to the second-longest pass play in team history and the longest since 1962. It also helped Berrian get to 131 receiving yards, allowing him to become the first Viking to have back-to-back 100-yard games receiving since 2004.

He is also climbing the league charts this year in receiving statistics after his slow start. He is tied for 37th with four other receivers – the two Steve Smiths, Vincent Jackson and Plaxico Burress – with 22 receptions on the year; he is tied with Jackson for ninth in the league with 436 receiving yards; he is tied for 25th in the NFL with seven third-down receptions; and he is tied for 31st in the league for non-kicking scoring leaders with 12 points on his two touchdowns.

Sunday, sore toe and sore knee and all, Berrian will return home to face the Chicago Bears team that wasn't willing to pay what the Vikings were offering last March.

'IDIOT' QUARTERBACK

Jared Allen got his third sack of the season without even touching the quarterback. Lions QB Dan Orlovsky saw Allen break free from his blocker and Orlovsky started to retreat backwards and to his right without taking his vision away from receivers downfield.

Unfortunately for him, he ran right out of the back of the end zone for a Vikings safety. Allen was given credit for the sack since he was the nearest Viking.

"I'll take them anyway I can get them if that's what I have to do. Kevin (Williams) is over there stealing sacks from me, though. I mean, I'm beating this guy like it's going out of style, and he's just beating them faster than I am. I'm going to start weighing down his shoes so maybe I can get there before he does," Allen joked.

For Orlovsky, it was no joke, although he was self-deprecating.

"I wasn't going to just sit back there and try to hold the ball and be stupid and give them points. And, I ended up giving them points. Just a dumb play by me," he said. "When they started blowing the whistle, I was like, Did we false start or were they offsides or something? Then, I looked and I was like, You are an idiot."

NOTES

  • An interesting statistic came from Childress when he was talking about the "demoralizing" sacks that Gus Frerotte took. Childress said one in every seven sacks results in a turnover and one in every 21 sacks results in a quarterback leaving the game. So far, Gus Frerotte has taken 11 sacks in four games.

  • The Giants' shocking Monday night loss to the Cleveland Browns brought on a confused look in Eli Manning that the football world hasn't seen since last November, when the Vikings intercepted him four times and returned three of those for touchdowns in a 41-13 Minnesota win. Manning threw three interceptions Monday night, one that turned into a 94-yard touchdown.

  • The Vikings now have the 15th-ranked offense in the league (ninth rushing and tied for 17th passing) and the seventh-ranked defense (fourth against the run and 15th against the pass).

  • The Vikings' next opponent, the Chicago Bears, has the 13th ranked offense (13th rushing and 12th passing) and the 12th-ranked defense (fifth against the run and 27th against the pass).

  • After losing two fumbles and throwing an interception while recovering one Lions fumble, the Vikings are now even for the season in giveaways and takeaways.

  • A 0-for-3 performance in the red zone Sunday keeps the Vikings at the bottom of the league inside the 20-yard line, now converting just three of 15 trips inside the red zone into touchdowns. St. Louis is tied with a 20-percent conversion rate, but the Rams have only been inside the red zone five times this season.

  • The Vikings defense is 21st in that category, allowing nine touchdowns in the opponents' 17 trips inside the 20-yard line.

  • Only six teams are worse than the Vikings at converting third-down tries into touchdowns. Minnesota has converted 32.6 percent of its third downs.

  • Conversely, the Vikings defense is second in the league in first downs allowed, giving up only 87 of them through six games. Only Baltimore is better, giving up 61.

  • Despite doing better at covering kicks in Sunday's game against Detroit, the Vikings are still 30th in the league, with the opponents' average starting position at the 29.8-yard line.


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