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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Bernard Berrian remains a part of Minnesota’s offensive plans.
The day after Berrian was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Monday the wide receiver will be back in the rotation this week for playing time.
“I don’t foresee any future problems. I really expect him to play at a high level for us and play well,” Frazier said.
Berrian was on the inactive list for Sunday’s victory over Arizona for a disciplinary reason that Frazier declined to specify. The St. Paul Pioneer Press, citing an unidentified person with knowledge of the situation, reported Berrian was punished for missing two team meetings the day before the game. Frazier wouldn’t confirm that Monday.
“He understands what we have to get done and what’s required of him, like all of our guys do. Going forward, we’ve just got to do the right things,” Frazier said.
Frazier said he believes Berrian’s mind is in the right place and that he’s still counting on him to contribute.
“He wants to help this football team win. We’re going to give him every opportunity to help this football team win,” Frazier said.
Berrian was Minnesota’s big free agent addition when he signed for $16 million guaranteed in 2008, and he played up to his billing that year with eight touchdowns, including one punt return for a score, and 964 yards receiving. His average of 20-plus yards per catch led the NFL.
But he never connected with Brett Favre and after two unproductive seasons, Berrian was a candidate to be released this summer. Instead, his contract was cut, with his 2011 base salary reduced from $3.9 million to $1.9 million. He has two receptions for 37 yards and no touchdowns this year. Since the NFC championship game following the 2009 season, Berrian hasn’t scored and has had only one game with more than five catches and 30 yards.
Devin Aromashodu has assumed some of Berrian’s role as the deep receiver and has 115 yards and a score over the last two games. Michael Jenkins has been quarterback Donovan McNabb’s favorite and most reliable target in a passing attack that has lacked both punch and rhythm.
“We don’t want to shortchange Devin. He’s doing some good things, but we’re counting on Bernard to step up and play well for us,” Frazier said.
The Vikings play Sunday at Chicago, Berrian’s former team. He was unavailable for comment in the locker room when it was open to reporters Monday.
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