BBAO: Why didn't Bernard Berrian play?

We're Black and Blue All Over:

There are some gaps in the Minnesota Vikings' explanation for why receiver Bernard Berrian was active but did not play in Sunday's 27-23 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Berrian had been added to the Vikings injury report Friday because of a groin injury and was listed as questionable. Sunday, coach Brad Childress said: "He was set to go. We had him up and I knew it was bugging him a little bit. He said he didn't feel like he'd be able to go."

Teams must submit their game-day roster 90 minutes before kickoff. Quarterback Brett Favre said Berrian appeared to come up lame on his first warm-up throw, but Berrian took to Twitter on Sunday evening to dispute that account:

"4 the record don't ever question my heart or toughness.Played plenty games injured. U just don't hear bout it. N warmup had nothin 2 do w/it"

In fact, Berrian tweeted that he had the same injury during a nine-catch performance Nov. 7 against the Arizona Cardinals.

I don't think Berrian's absence was the difference in this game, and it's not as if the Vikings were short-handed with four other receivers still available. But typically NFL players are deactivated before a game if they're not healthy enough to play. What happened Sunday morning if there wasn't some kind of set-back during warmups, as Berrian indicated?

We don't know that answer. Berrian didn't provide an alternate explanation and chided reporters who asked him to clarify via Twitter. Chalk it up as another bizarre episode for the Theatre of the Absurd.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • The Vikings aren't finished yet, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com, but they are pretty lousy.

  • Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on the possibility of firing Vikings coach Brad Childress: "But firing the coach now would be nothing but a cheap publicity stunt. The time for hard decisions has come and gone. At this point, such a move would be a token gesture of appeasement. I'm not saying many fans wouldn't be thrilled to see Childress go, but a firing would have zero tangible effect on a season already lost."

  • ESPN colleague Gene Wojciechowski: "Childress already has lost his team and Vikings fans with it. The fact that he hasn't lost his owner -- yet -- can mean only one of two things: Wilf needs to be tested for post-concussion syndrome or Wilf is a prisoner to his own sense of loyalty."

  • The Bears "welcomed legitimacy" to their season Sunday, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.

  • Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times isn't sure why the Vikings kicked to Bears returner Devin Hester.

  • Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com: "However it's playing out, the difference between Hester now and at the beginning of the season, even in his body language, is striking and everyone is thinking the same thing again when he drops back."

  • Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com: "Chicago's offense finally came on board with the team's usually-strong defense and special teams to deliver the type of total-team knockout reflective of its first-place standing atop the NFC North."

  • Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press after the Detroit Lions' 14-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills: "But this is a sloppy, penalty-prone team no matter whom it plays."

  • Receiver Calvin Johnson via Dave Birkett of the Free Press: "We thought we should have won this game getting off the bus. We felt this was a game that we should take, and we didn’t get it done."

  • John Niyo of the Detroit News: "Beginning the second half of the second season of this supposedly new era of Lions football, there's no excuse for what happened Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. And if this sorry loss to the previously winless Buffalo Bills wasn't a step backward, that's only because this franchise still hasn't proved anything and still hasn't escaped the shadow of its past." Ouch.

  • The Lions couldn't muster any rushing game against the NFL's worst-ranked rush defense, notes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.