MANKATO, MINN. (AP) - Players trying to bounce back from substandard performances in professional sports provide a never-ending preseason story line, often touting a revamped workout regimen, positive personal-life changes or greater knowledge of the game as their ticket to improvement.
For Bernard Berrian, it’s so much more simple than that.
Really, that’s it?
“It doesn’t take anything else but being on the field,” Berrian said. “You either got it, or you don’t.”
There are certainly other factors in the formula for re-establishing himself as one of the NFL’s most dangerous deep-route wide receivers, such as the health of Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin and of course the status of the old noncommittal quarterback Brett Favre.
Berrian’s biggest challenge, however, might be keeping that left hamstring strong.
“It was kind of a funny-looking deal, when you saw it on tape,” coach Brad Childress said, referring to Berrian’s dehydration-related strain of a receiver’s most important muscle in the team’s first preseason game last August. “Those guys are such low-fat guys, you’ve got to watch them.”
Unable to practice during Favre’s first few weeks in Minnesota, Berrian struggled to find a rhythm with his new quarterback until the very last game. He reinjured the hamstring in a late October game at Pittsburgh and didn’t feel right until December.
“Trying to deal with that was a new experience,” Berrian said. “Trying to play on that is really tough.”
Even during the NFC championship game loss in New Orleans, when Berrian had his best game of the season with nine catches and 102 yards, Favre failed to look toward a wide-open Berrian near the sideline on that fateful fourth-quarter rollout. The pass, forced to Rice in the middle of the field, was intercepted by the Saints.
After leading the Vikings with 964 yards and seven touchdowns receiving and finishing second in the league with an average of more than 20 yards per reception in 2008, Berrian slipped to 618 yards and four scores last season.
With Rice (hip) and Harvin (family) missing all week, Berrian has been playing all three receiver positions in practice _ a versatility the Vikings plan to extend into the season even when Rice and Harvin are suited up.View Entire Story
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