Berrian dropped Friday after practice to speak to the assembled mass after being seemingly uninterested in talking with reporters in the earlier open locker room session. He seemed to come looking to clear the air with questions that would be thrown his way.
He fielded several questions, ranging from his role on the team to the state of the Vikings. He was asked if, after the bye week, the Vikings have a different attitude and whether complacency that they could simply repeat the magic of the early 2009 season was a problem.
"(We learned) that we couldn't think about last year anymore," Berrian said. "We have to stop thinking about last year and saying, ‘We're a good team, we're a good team, we're a good team.' Stop relying on what happened last year and just actually go out there and do it."
The 1-2 start was a shock – "It's definitely a wake-up call," Berrian said – and likely sped up the process of trying to improve at wide receiver. Javon Walker was test in the preseason. Greg Camarillo was traded for. Hank Baskett was signed prior to the Detroit game. Terms to a contract were apparently agreed upon with Vincent Jackson before the Chargers' demands couldn't be satisfied. Then this week's blockbuster trade for Randy Moss. The revolving door at wide receiver has been pronounced and gaining speed.
Berrian said that Moss will open things up for everybody and improve the running game. He realizes that his role will likely be diminished, he said that isn't a bad thing from the team perspective and that once new roles are defined, the talent assembled can better live up to expectations.
"That's a good thing, though," Berrian said. "There's a lot of talent. It does look like a fantasy team actually, when you think about it. There's a lot of talent on this team. But we're not winning the way we'd like to win. We've got to be closer as a team instead of just being a bunch of talent."
Berrian admitted that he is facing a professional crisis in what is sure to be a diminished role, especially if Sidney Rice returns at midseason as expected. But he said he has to adjust to his role as a supporting player instead of being the lead dog. His reduction in reps during practice hasn't helped him forge a rapport with Brett Favre and he said that it's not easy improving timing with less opportunities.
"It's very important," Berrian said of getting sufficient reps in practice and targets on game day. "I have no patience. It is important because you can't let the ball not coming your way frustrate you, because then it starts to take you out of your game and you start to think about it too much."
Berrian said that he is willing to fill whatever role the team needs him to be. For the first three games of the season, his primary assignment was to take a cornerback (and hopefully a safety) deep over the top to open up other receivers. With Moss taking over the deep-threat component of the offense, especially as he learns the terminology of a new offense, Berrian will be asked to be a cutter – a player who takes two steps off the line and gets the ball delivered on time. He said he looks forward to more plays like that, which can take advantage of his speed in a confined space.
"Anything just to get the ball," Berrian said. "I like to rack up yards after the catch. I love it. That's the fun part of the game for me, but it's just my position in the offense doesn't really allow me that too much yet."
The bottom line of Berrian's visit with reporters was to clear the air. When asked a relatively straight-forward question – "Are you happy?" – Berrian said all that was needed to be said, considering the all-in effort that the Vikings have made to acquire a playmaking big receiver while waiting for Rice to return.
"Any time a player's reps get cut or anything of that nature happens, a player is never going to be happy – my attitude has to change," Berrian said. "That happens all the time. I don't have to worry about that, because I can't control any of that. All I can control is what I do."