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Vikings ( Almost ) Mid-Season Grades

Day 2 – Receivers

1. Bernard Berrian– 24 receptions/ 252 yds./ 10.5 avg./ 2 TD’s – Started the season as the # 1 receiver but has had a nagging hamstring injury that has limited his time in pre-season and has carried over through the first half. His timing with Favre has been off and was just beginning to get on track when he seemed to tweak the “hammy” again vs. Pittsburgh. So far his season has been a disappointment, because he hasn’t been able to play enough to be the difference maker they expect out of him. When healthy, he is a very capable deep threat who can stretch the field and open things up for Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin on underneath routes and slants. – C

2. Sidney Rice – 34 receptions/ 545 yds./ 16.0 Avg./ 2 TD’s – With his own injury issues seemingly behind him, Rice is beginning to flourish in the offense. Favre seems to look to Rice in tough passing situations, and so far Rice hasn’t disappointed. He is catching all the routine passes, and as his confidence begins to soar, so too does his opportunities. He is beginning to make the spectacular catch look routine. Blessed with great hands and good but not great speed, he seems the ideal possession receiver. But lately Favre is looking deep to him as well. His 6’ 5 “ frame and long wingspan combined with his leaping ability make him a superb red zone receiver and he is rarely beaten in jump ball situations. The catch he made on the sidelines during the Pittsburgh game where he somehow got his feet down in bounds while maintaining possession was reminiscent of Cris Carter. – A –

3. Percy Harvin – 23 receptions/ 285 yds./ 12.4 avg. / 2 TD’s – How lucky were the Vikings to have Harvin land in their laps at # 22 last spring ? I wanted Micheal Oher, but in hind sight I realize I was wrong. This guy is such an excellent playmaker. Give Coach Childress credit for identifying this guy as ’his pick”. He has the potential to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. He already has 2 kick returns for touchdown and has upgraded the receiving corps in a very positive way. He is tough, much stronger then he looks and rarely goes down easily. A sore shoulder hasn’t kept him out of the line-up and that isn’t reminiscent of a player with “ attitude problems “ as he was labeled before the draft. It is exciting to know that he has just barely scratched the surface of his potential. A couple of dropped balls and a mental lapse or two keeps this rating from being higher. – B +

4. Jaymar Johnson – 1 reception/ 9 yds./ His contributions have been mostly on special teams as a punt returner. As a receiver, he needs to work on getting in and out of his routes in a quicker, smoother manor. Stop rounding your cuts, Jaymar ! He has quick feet and good speed. A threat after the catch. He worked very hard last year on the practice squad and came to camp as a much improved product. On returns, he allows his blockers to open the gap, but once committed, he hits the hole hard and fights for every yard. More of a slasher and cutter then a burner, but he has the ability to take it to the house. He is a very good compliment on Punts to the teams other return man Darius Reynaud.

5. Darius Reynaud – 0 receptions / Better hands then Johnson and a much larger target. A potentially strong red zone receiver. Can make the difficult catch and isn’t afraid of contact. Is good at concentrating on the ball over the middle even when he is about to get hit by the safety. He’s strong, arm tackles won’t take him down. Sometimes hesitates on returns looking for the right opening to take it the distance every time. Probably just a hair better receiver and returner then Johnson at this time, but with slightly less speed.

6. Greg Lewis – 5 receptions / 50 yds. / 10.0 avg. / 1 TD – The Vikings thought enough of Lewis to let Bobby Wade go. The move paid off immediately when he caught the winning TD pass with 2 seconds left against the 49ers in what was easily the most exciting play of the season. He comes to the Vikings with a reputation for having very good hands and being an excellent team player. Despite limited action, just making “The Catch of the year” makes his rating high !   –   A –

Tight ends

1. Visanthe Shiancoe – 21 receptions / 191 yds. / 9.1 avg. / 5 TD’s – One of Favre’s favorite targets who since coming to Minnesota as a free agent from the NY Giants has just gotten better and better. He has great hands and runs sharp, crisp routes. He does a good job separating from linebacker coverage and gets a lot of yards after the catch. His  6’ 4” frame allows him to go up in traffic making him another effective red zone target. So far he is having a “Career “ season and should get some Pro-bowl recognition by season’s end.    –    A –

2. Jim Kleinsasser – 4 receptions / 15 yds. / 3.8 avg. – Don’t expect a lot of production from Kleinsasser as his value is in blocking rather then receiving. Having him on the field is like having an extra tackle. Quite likely the best blocking tight end in the game, it is impossible to know for sure the actual number if sacks he’s saved and hits he’s taken off Favre’s body.  –   A –

3. Jeff Dugan – 2 receptions / 26 yds. / 13.0 avg. – Kind of a combination between Shiancoe and Kleinsasser. He’s not as good a route runner or receiver as Shiancoe and not the punishing physical specimen of a Kleinsasser. All in all a very good 3rd string tight end.   –   C +

Tomorrow – Defensive Line

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2 Responses to “Vikings ( Almost ) Mid-Season Grades”

  1. starrc10 says:

    Poor Berrian… I thought it was posted here and a few places that he actually hurt his OTHER hamstring. Either way, he has seemed slow. I would almost tweak his grade to a C+ because he has really come out showing his slant running ability, for instance one of the first plays in Packers 1, he lined up against Al Harris. Al Harris closed in to bump him off the line, when Favre saw this he said in an interview he wrote of the route (which was his first read) but he checked after the snap anyway, and to his surprise, Berrian SMOKED Harris off the line. I think he is a little underrated as a complete receiver.

    Any insight into his blocking?

    So… yeah. I say C+

    Great write-up, thanks.

  2. Adam Warwas says:

    yeah, Berrian hurt his other hammy.

    I like Berrian a lot, but if the Vikings ever get the chance to sign a true #1 WR then Berrian might become the odd man out due to Rice and Harvin emerging, and Berrian’s fat contract.

    He really needs a stellar second half of this season.

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