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Less Than Zero

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After the 2006 season, the first year of Brad Childress' tenure as Vikings coach, it was apparent that the Vikings needed a big play wide receiver.  They had finished 28th of 32 teams in passing yardage, and the leading receiver from that memorable 6-10 squad was Bobby Wade, who couldn't even break 650 yards.  Man, that's trrbl, just trrbl.

Enter Bernard Berrian.  He signed a six year $42 million deal with $16 million guaranteed, and he produced results, going for 951 yards in 2007 and 964 yards in 2008, including what is arguably the most memorable moment from that division winning team, which came against the team the Vikings signed him away from:

And considering what the quarterback situation was at the time (Tarvaris Jackson, Brooks Bollinger, Gus Frerotte, Kelly Holcomb, etc), the production the Vikings got out of Berrian was very respectable.  With the signing of Brett Favre last year, it seemed that Berrian was set to have a break out season as the assumed #1 WR, as Sidney Rice had been hurt and unproductive up until that point in his career, and Percy Harvin was an unknown quantity as a rookie at a position that generally isn't known for breakout seasons from rookies.

Well, Berrian got hurt in trainng camp, Rice and Harvin did emerge, and by the time he fully recovered he had been relegated to essentially a #3 role as WR.  And to his credit, he was productive in that role, catching 55 passes (7 more than in 2008) for 618 yards and 4 scores.

Fast forward to the day before the Moss trade.  Berrian, the official #1 WR, had struggled all season developing a chemistry with Brett Favre, and it came to a head in a week 2 loss against Miami, where two passes targeted to him resulted in interceptions.  In week three he had no catches against Detroit, and then the Vikings traded for Randy Moss.

So with the re-acquisition of Moss, there has been speculation that Berrian is on the trading block.  With Berrian non-existent in the Monday Night loss to the Jets, and with Sidney Rice schedules to come back in a few weeks to line up opposite Moss, every team in the NFL knows that the Vikings have no leverage in trying to deal Berrian.  He has zero trade value, and unless someone will need him as a short erm injury replacement, I can see a scenario where Berrian is released after the Vikings activate Sidney Rice from the Physically Unable to Perform List.

It's a stunning fall for a guy that just two short years a go was essentially a 1,000 yard receiver and was seen as the Vikings best wide receiver. 

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.