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Winfield, Berrian inactive for Vikings

By Jon Krawczynski
AP Sports Writer / October 9, 2011

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MINNEAPOLIS—Bernard Berrian was a surprise healthy scratch for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday against Arizona, the first time in his career the receiver has not played in a game for a reason other than injury.

Berrian has just two catches for 37 yards this season despite playing more snaps than any other Vikings receiver over their first four games.

He also wrote on Twitter during a rant after last week's loss to Kansas City that he's been open for the past four years but hasn't gotten the ball.

Coach Leslie Frazier said he left Berrian on the inactive list for an unspecified disciplinary reason, but not because of his critical comments or any health-related issue.

"Just looking at the bigger picture about what we have to get done as a football team. That's not to say it'll continue to be this way, but there were some things that we needed to get done that had to be done," said Frazier, who also held starting cornerback Cedric Griffin out of the first series as punishment for an unspecified transgression.

Frazier spoke with Berrian earlier in the week after the receiver got in a Twitter spat with a Minnesota state representative who also happens to be a big supporter of the team's drive for a new stadium.

Berrian took exception to Rep. John Kriesel poking fun at him after the 22-17 loss at Kansas City last week, but Berrian did not know Kriesel was a state lawmaker during the interaction.

Kriesel took responsibility for starting the spat and Berrian said he planned to call and apologize. But perhaps more damaging for Berrian was his response to a fan's statement that he saw Berrian open at least five times against the Chiefs.

"Been like that the last four years," Berrian wrote back.

Berrian has largely been a disappointment ever since signing a six-year, $42 million contract, that included $16 million in guaranteed money in 2008.

He restructured the deal to remain with the team before this season, but hasn't been able to connect with Donovan McNabb to give the Vikings the downfield threat they sorely need.

Berrian missed five games (thumb) in 2005 and one game (rib) in 2006 with Chicago and two games (groin) last season with Minnesota, but this was the first non-injury absence of his eight-year career.

Also missing for the Vikings was cornerback Antoine Winfield (neck), an absence which was expected after he missed practice all week and was listed as doubtful on the injury report.

Asher Allen took advantage of the extra playing time and had an interception and helped bring down running back Beanie Wells in the backfield on fourth-and-1 on the final play of the third quarter near midfield.

Wide receiver Percy Harvin (ribs) and defensive ends Jared Allen (eye) and Brian Robison (abdomen) each got hurt during the game, but they were able to return after brief absences for the Vikings.

For the Cardinals, tight end Todd Heap (hamstring), punter Dave Zastudil (right knee) and receiver Chansi Stuckey (hamstring) were inactive, but Wells played after he was listed as questionable during the week with a hamstring injury. Ben Graham was the punter for the Cardinals and Jeff King got the start in place of Heap at tight end.

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Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/APkrawczynski

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