Frazier confirms Vikings benched WR Berrian as discipline

MINNEAPOLIS -- Bernard Berrian was a surprise healthy scratch for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, marking the first time in the wide receiver's career that he hasn't played in a game for a reason other than injury.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he left Berrian on the inactive list against the Arizona Cardinals 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.

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 the Kansas City Chiefs that he has been open for the past four years but hasn't gotten the ball.

Frazier spoke with Berrian earlier in the week after the receiver was embroiled 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. However, Berrian didn't 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 largely has 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 he hasn't been able to connect with new starting quarterback 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 the Chicago Bears and two games (groin) last season with the Vikings, but this was the first non-injury absence of his eight-year NFL career.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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