WR Bernard Berrian signed a big-money free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings prior to the 2008 season in a move designed to improve the team’s passing game by stretching opposing defenses to open things up underneath. And unlike many big-money free agents across the sports spectrum, Berrian delivered on expectations.
Berrian led the NFL in yards per catch at 20.1 and also set career highs with 7 TDs and 964 receiving yards.
His 2009 campaign was another good one, although not as sensational. Berrian ranked 3rd on the team in receiving yards after leading the team the year prior and the slight drop-off was due to an injury he suffered in the preseason. That injury had him a tick off.
But that is not the case so far during 2010 Verizon Vikings Training Camp. Berrian is healthy and in my eyes he’s been one of the team’s most impressive performers. He makes the routine plays routinely and his speed is as evident as ever.
“I feel like I’m having a solid camp,” Berrian acknowledged, “but there are still things I can get better at and some things I can work on. There is still room to improve.”
Watching him in camp, you’d be hard-pressed to find something #87 can improve upon. But he cited route details, getting in and out of breaks and sinking his hips going into those breaks as areas of his game he’ll work to improve.
“I think one of the best things for Bernard is being out here,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “He did miss a lot of time, particularly in camp and early in the season last year. He was hobbled with the injuries he had last year. I think it is great for him to be out here. By the end of the year he had started to catch up a little bit. Like I said the other day, his best game was the last game (NFC Championship Game) against New Orleans.”
While Berrian is working to perfect detailed areas of his craft, Vikings WRs coach George Stewart says Berrian has already improved other areas of his game as well.
“The thing that he’s doing that has impressed me more than anything else, is with Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin being away, he’s stepped up his leadership role,” Stewart explained to me. “Bernard has always been quiet, very reserved and has played at a high level. But he is stepping up in that leadership role, which you need at a young position.”
In a Vikings world where the headlines are focused on QB Brett Favre and his status, it looks like one of Favre’s most reliable weapons is quietly regaining his top form from 2008.
Tags: Bernard Berrian, Darrell Bevell, George Stewart
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 16 Comments »