The Vikings have been looking for an explosive receiver since the departure of Randy Moss. With three 100-yard games in the last four contests, it looks like Bernard Berrian is providing what the Vikings had hoped when they signed him to a six-year, $42 million deal.
Ever since the trade of Randy Moss
, the Vikings have sought to replace the kind of explosiveness he possessed and defensive attention he commanded. At the midway point of the 2008 season, it may have taken four years, but it would appear the Vikings have found it.
On Sunday, Bernard Berrian
caught only two passes. One of them was a 55-yard bomb on the first offensive play of the game. The other was a 48-yard touchdown. Both were things of beauty and the two catches directly resulted in 14 of the Vikings' 28 points.
Berrian has had four straight games with a touchdown and has topped 100 yards in three of the last four games. It's all part of what a playmaker is supposed to be, according to Berrian.
"(The Vikings) spent that kind of money, you better hope the guy they spent it on is capable of making those plays," Berrian said. "I find myself definitely capable of making those plays. Anytime we get an opportunity, I'm going to make those plays."
While the national media focused on the final numbers posted by Adrian Peterson
, let Berrian continue to be ignored. His numbers speak for themselves.
The balance of power in the NFC North might have taken a shift Sunday when the Bears lost Kyle Orton with a high ankle sprain. Orton, who has been playing extremely well this season, could be lost for a month or more with the injury, which isn't good news for the Bears – who face the Titans, Packers and Vikings in their next four games.
The NFC playoff race seems to be boiling down to having just one team from the NFC North making the January dance. Heading into tonight's game, the Cowboys are currently in last place in the NFC East with a 5-4 record. The Eagles are 5-3, Washington is 6-2 heading into tonight's game with Pittsburgh and the Giants are riding high at 7-1. Combine that with a strong showing in the NFC South, where Carolina is 6-2, Tampa Bay is 6-3 and even upstart Atlanta is 5-3. One thing seems clear at the halfway mark of the season – it's likely that only the division champs will represent the NFC North and NFC West in the playoffs.
We hope to find out more today about the health of Jared Allen, who has his shoulder wrapped in ice following the game.
Three years ago, the Vikings came under fire for "low-balling" the free-agent running back market. The Vikes refused to get in a bidding war for free agent Edgerrin James, instead signing Chester Taylor at a much more team-friendly price. That decision proved to be the right one. James hasn't had any of the explosiveness he displayed with the Colts during his time in Arizona and, there may have a changing of the guard Sunday. Tim Hightower was not only given the start, but had a 100-yard rushing game, while James spent the game on the sideline, watching Hightower rush 22 times for 109 yards and backup J.J. Arrington run six times for 62 yards.
How bad are things in Dallas? They replaced one former Viking castoff (Brad Johnson) with another (Brooks Bollinger) Sunday. The bye week can't come soon enough in Big D.
The Ravens cut former Vikings QB Todd Bouman over the weekend.