Wide receiver Bernard Berrian has struggled through injuries the last two seasons, but he's healthy and productive after one week of camp. He talked about that and his goals for the season after the Thursday morning session. Plus, get plenty of practice notes.
's last game was his best game as a Viking.
In the NFC Championship Game, Berrian had nine catches for 102 yards. The reception total was the third-highest in franchise playoff history and it was a career high for him in the playoffs.
Berrian is hoping he doesn't have to wait until the end of the season this year to make that sort of impact.
Last year, he pulled a hamstring in training camp and it took until the playoffs to break out with a 100-yard game.
"It's definitely been a little bit frustrating," Berrian said of a string of injuries that seem to hold him hold him back from reaching big numbers on an annual basis. "I always seem to get off to a slow start and then progress during the season. As long as I'm fine now, I'm happy."
Berrian isn't just fine, he's getting an overload of work in the first week of training camp. With Sidney Rice
starting camp on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list and Percy Harvin
leaving camp due a death in the family, Berrian has had to put in overtime. Despite being the highest-paid receiver on the team – he made $6.3 million last year in base salary and bonuses – he has had to put in additional work with the second team at times during camp because of a lack of available receivers.
"I've got a little bit more reps with the (second team) every now and then, just because some of the younger guys are getting a little plugged up so they don't want to run their legs out," Berrian said.
He's not complaining, however. Instead, he's feeling fresh, stretching the field once again and being productive.
While speedy Berrian struggled with his biggest asset – his legs – last year, younger players like Harvin and Rice were stepping up and having Pro Bowl seasons. This year, it's Berrian in the mix early in training camp with Rice and Harvin not practicing.
He's not only involved more in practice, he's also playing more receiver positions.
"In this offense, it's really interchangeable. Any position can really run any route in the offense and you can be placed anywhere. Last year, I think we got (less) with the younger guys, but now that we're in the offense a little bit more we're able to move guys a little bit more."
His newfound healthy has him thinking big once again with his goals for the season.
"It's always 16 and 16 – 16 touchdowns and 1,600 yards. It's been that ever since I've been playing this game," he said.
Considering that he still hasn't broken the 1,000-yard or 10-touchdown barrier during his six-year career, those of lofty goals, but it's amazing what a little healthy can do for an attitude.
THURSDAY MORNING PRACTICE NOTES
RB Adrian Peterson continued to be held out of practice with "tightness" in his leg. Sidney Rice and Cedric Griffin remain the PUP list, Darius Reynaud didn't practice because of a leg injury suffered Wednesday, and Benny Sapp (heat-related) and J Leman (leg) were all held out. Percy Harvin remains away from camp after a death in his family and Childress said there was no update on his arrival.
John Sullivan returned to action at center and the sleeve that had previously been covering his right calf was gone. Sullivan got kicked during the team's Saturday night practice and has been limited since. The evidence of the injury was still visible.
Jimmy Kennedy put a quick dent in the first-team offense's attempts during a hurry-up drill when he snuffed out a screen and forced Tarvaris Jackson to throw the ball away. Later in the drive, Brian Robison had a touch sack of Jackson, but using a good dose of Visanthe Shiancoe, Jackson managed to move the offense into scoring position and capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Greg Lewis.
The second-team offense struggled a bit more. Ray Edwards, working against Drew Radovich, started that session with a sack of Sage Rosenfels. A couple plays later, Jared Allen had a touch sack of Rosenfels while working against Chris Clark. Eventually, the offense got in scoring position with a couple of catches by Logan Payne, and Rhys Lloyd ended that drive with a 48-yard field goal that had plenty of distance.
During seven-on-seven work, Rosenfels dropped a perfect pass to the back of the end zone over Asher Allen and into the hands of Logan Payne, who made a great diving catch.
During full-team drills, Toby Gerhart received a lot of attention in both the running and passing game and fared well.
Edwards ended practice with a touch sack of rookie Joe Webb.
Before the group installation began, linebackers were covering tight ends and the final matchup drew the biggest reaction. Chad Greenway knocked a pass away from Visanthe Shiancoe, which sent the linebackers into a celebration to taunt the outspoken Shiancoe. Vikings coach Brad Childress delayed the team from going into the group session and called for a rematch of Greenway-Shiancoe. Shiancoe broke free off the line of scrimmage, but as Greenway was closing the gap, Shiancoe couldn't hang onto the pass in front of the whole team. The defenders once again broke into a raucous celebration after a rather uneventful first half of practice.
NFL officials are on hand today. They annually meet with the coaches and players at training camp, and the media is briefed on rules changes and points of emphasis as well.
Whether it was the picture-perfect weather (temperatures were in the low 70s) or the fact that running backs (i.e. Adrian Peterson) were signing autographs after the morning session, the crowd was very strong, probably somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000.