Before this past season, the last time the Vikings had a big play receiver who could stretch the field was Randy Moss, who the team traded in 2005 to the Oakland Raiders for a first-round pick and linebacker Napolean Harris.
After suffering through solid receivers with mediocre speed such as Nate Burleson, Travis Taylor, and Marcus Robinson; the Vikings have finally found a receiver that required attention from the safety.
Yes, I know Troy Williamson also could stretch the field, but I think we all know what his flaws were.
Berrian struggled in his first two games as a Viking, catching only three passes for 38 yard and no touchdowns.
When Gus Frerotte replaced Tarvaris Jackson at the starting quarterback position in week three, Berrian seemed to get in sync with the Vikings offense. He caught three passes for 79 yards.
In week five against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, Berrian had his first 100-yard game as a Vikings, hauling in six passes for 110 yards. Berrian was involved in the biggest play of the game, catching a 33-yard touchdown from Frerotte to tie the score at 27. The Vikings ended up winning the game to save their season and perhaps Head Coach Brad Childress' job.
Berrian continued to be a go-to guy as a receiver the rest of the season, as well as a decent punt returner.
In week 15 at the Arizona Cardinals, Berrian provided the first spark for the Vikings, taking a Ben Graham punt back 82 yards for a touchdown. Shortly after, he hauled in a 41-yard touchdown pass from Tarvaris Jackson to give the Vikings a 14-0 lead.
On the other side of the field, Sidney Rice failed to live up to expectations.
He did have a strong start, catching a crucial touchdown in the second half of week ones game against the Green Bay Packers.
In week two however, Rice suffered a right knee injury against the Colts that seemed to affect him the entire season.
Rice finished the season with only 15 receptions for 141 yards. He still seems to be a top red zone target, and finished the year with four receptions. He helped take away some of the pressure some defenses were putting on Adrian Peterson inside the 20 yard line.
In the slot position, Bobby Wade brought excellent leadership to the Vikings receivers in 2008. Wade finished the year with 53 receptions for 645 yards and two touchdowns.
He often came up with big plays in crucial moments, helping Jackson get comfortable and confident with the Vikings receivers.
Aundrae Allison, who the Vikings drafted in 2007, contributed in 2008 but has shown he still is a work in progress. He finished the season with just 10 receptions for 109 yards and no touchdowns after showing some signs of big play ability in his rookie season.
In order for the Vikings to become an effective passing team, Allison will need to get more involved with the offense in 2009 to draw some coverage away from Bernard Berrian.
The Vikings recently selected wide receiver Percy Harvin out of Florida with the no. 22 pick in this year's draft. After visiting with Harvin the week leading up to the draft, Brad Childress and the Vikings front office appeared confident that Harvin would bring big play ability to the Vikings receiver position.
Harvin, although short, at 5'11, is a quick receiver, running the 40 in 4.41 seconds in February at the NFL Combine.
In 2009, the Vikings receivers will look to build upon some shining moments in 2008. With Percy Harvin added to the mix, forget the rocket fuel. This group looks ready to explode.