Berrian was released for lack of performance, among other things. Cook is suspended after being charged with pretty heinous crimes. Cook has the right to explain his alleged misdeeds. Berrian's mistake, although not illegal, are on film.
The mood in the Vikings locker room at midday Wednesday was somber, as reporters surrounded every player to get their take on the unexpected events of the last week. Greg Camarillo had an interesting perspective.
Shortly after Brett Favre was abducted from his family compound by the Vikings version of Seal Team 6, Sidney Rice announced that he was going to have much-delayed hip surgery that was going to put him on the shelf. Camarillo was quickly acquired via trade for cornerback Benny Sapp, who was last seen chasing Wes Welker as part of a 99-yard touchdown pass. Camarillo compared the level of distraction a year ago at this time to what the team is currently experiencing, saying that this is small potatoes.
He's right. We're approaching the one-year anniversary of when the 2010 Vikings officially fell apart. Randy Moss had been traded for as a hope and a prayer to salvage the 2010 season, but things weren't working out as hoped. Moss was sullen and changing the vibe of the locker room. The Vikings had already been playing host to several national media figures over the Brett Favre junk photo scandal, and Moss was simply the new ringmaster of the circus. Things were spiraling out of control and Moss would sit in the middle of the locker room during media sessions doing little to nothing, yet seemingly relished the moment a reporter would approach, ask for an interview and be shot down like a clay pigeon.
Then came Catergate.
It was Catergate that brought the Moss Experiment to an end. For the forgetful or the unfamiliar, on Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, the Vikings had a team meal catered by Tinucci's Restaurant of Newport, Minn.
Moss, apparently not in the mood for the food or not forgetting that Tinucci was a favorite of former Viking Matt Birk, confronts Gus Tinucci, who was overseeing the team buffet and screamed at a high decibel level, "What the (expletive) is this? I wouldn't feed this (expletive) to my (expletive) dog!"
Catergate would be the straw that broke the back of the Brad Childress era in the history of the Vikings.
Chilly wasn't happy. Nobody was. Brett Favre was stunned and indignant. Many thought the buffet was pretty solid – ribs, chicken, a guy in a messed-up tall white hat carving beef at a serving station, the whole nine yards. Moss was frustrated and cut loose. Then Chilly was cut loose.
What followed in the next three days was nothing short of absurd. Moss put in a pedestrian performance against his former New England teammates late on Halloween afternoon and, following the game, goes out of his way to express his love and admiration of the Patriots organization. His comments were a little too spooky for Chilly the Not-So-Friendly Ghost.
On Nov. 1, the Monday after the game, Chilly informed the team that Moss will be released. While the players are informed, owner Zygi Wilf apparently wasn't "in the loop" on that decision. Moss' release is delayed by a day as speculation surfaces that the team was pondering (now a pun, but not then) firing Childress and keeping Moss.
In the end, Catergate brought down Moss in his short-lived second run with the Vikings. However, that seemingly trivial event would lead to the firing of Childress less than a month later. Things went downhill with a loud "thud" shortly thereafter when the Metrodome roof collapsed.
Camarillo had it right. The Berrian/Cook incident is something that would be a major distraction for other teams. But, considering where the Vikings were a year ago at this time, the current off-field incidents that led to Berrian's release and Cook's suspension are blows to the team, but pale in comparison to the burning room they were dancing a year ago.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.