MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — Receiver Bernard Berrian and left tackle Bryant McKinnie both sat out the Minnesota Vikings’ first training camp practice of 2011 on Monday, for vastly different reasons.
Berrian had his contract restructured to reduce his salary cap hit, and league rules prevent him from practicing until the new collective bargaining agreement takes effect on Thursday. McKinnie was placed on the non-football injury list with an undisclosed ailment.
Berrian is coming off a disappointing season in which he had just 28 catches for 252 yards and no touchdowns in nine games. Entering the fourth year of a six-year, $42 million contract, the Vikings made reducing his $6.2 million cap number a priority as they work to get under the new $120 million salary cap.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Berrian said he had no problems with the new contract that will allow him to become a free agent one year sooner, in 2012.
“I’m definitely pleased with it,” he said after practice.
With a new offensive coordinator in Bill Musgrave, head coach Leslie Frazier said he expects the 30-year-old Berrian to have a bounce-back season. Frazier said he had a long talk with Berrian about his role in the offense after the lockout ended and thinks they’re on the same page going forward.
“Bernard has a great attitude and so do so many others,” Frazier said. “Just enthused about the way he’s come to camp and the fact that he has a chip on his shoulder, which could turn out to be good for our football team.”
Frazier wasn’t nearly as forthcoming with McKinnie’s situation. Pressed for what the injury is, Frazier would only say they “are working on some things” with McKinnie. Being placed on the non-football injury list prevents McKinnie from getting paid and could jeopardize his eligibility for a workout bonus in his contract.
“Bryant’s going to be fine,” Frazier said. “He’s going to be fine. We’ve just got to go through some things and get him ready for the things that are ahead.”
McKinnie was equally vague in a brief interview after practice, only saying, “I have some issues with my something … I just got some issues.”
McKinnie appeared to be a bit on the heavy side when he reported, and Frazier said the team is working on getting his weight where they want it.
The Vikings had talks with free agent left tackle Jermon Bushrod before he re-signed with the New Orleans Saints and signed former Indianapolis Colts tackle Charlie Johnson on Monday, which gives them some insurance if McKinnie’s situation lingers.
“One of the things we want to be able to do with Bryant and a couple of other guys is just take them through a period where we get them where we feel that they’re ready to play for us when the season rolls around,” Frazier said. “So, we’re taking it slow with him and a couple of other guys.”
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