Tuesday is the beginning of the informal Vikings “minicamp” at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Quarterbacks Christian Ponder, Joe Webb and Rhett Bomar are reportedly already present, and over the next few days a number of their offensive teammates will also roll in to get some work done, and maybe score photocopies of Ponder’s playbook.
NFL Network’s Scott Hanson tweeted the identities of several 2010 Vikings expected to show for the work outs. Unsurprisingly, Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe and Sidney Rice are on that list. Somewhat surprisingly, Bernard Berrian is too.
I call Berrian’s inclusion “somewhat surprising” only because, a few months ago, we all assumed Berrian’s Viking career was over after two straight sub-par seasons. Of course we also assumed Pat Williams and Ray Edwards were long gone, but it’s looking more-and-more like both will be back for the 2011 season, if there is a 2011 season.
Berrian’s decision to participate in the player-organized sort-of-minicamp would seem to signal that he too expects to return to the Purple in 2011. What we don’t know is whether Berrian is getting this from anyone inside the team or is just assuming. Of course technically the team isn’t allowed to speak to players, but I think everyone believes they’re finding ways of getting messages to the guys they expect to have on their roster.
If I may hazard one more possibly shaky assumption: I think that, in a perfect world, the Vikings would just as soon move ahead without Berrian and probably Ray Edwards too. Unfortunately the lockout has made this a less-than-perfect world. Even after the lockout ends, I think many teams will retain guys they might otherwise want to dump, out of fear that not enough players will be moving to allow them to replace anyone. Were this a normal off-season I think Berrian would probably already be gone, and the Vikings would be working to replace him with a cheaper free agent receiver.
As I indicated before, I have no idea if Berrian’s decision to show at the work outs means the Vikings have (illegally) contacted him and assured him they want him back in 2011. It could just be that Bernard decided it was time to get off his duff and do some work, and he figured he’d hang with his old teammates in Florida since the work outs were already organized. All I know is, Berrian will be getting experience with the new offense, which can’t hurt his chances to stick once the lockout finally ends.
Maybe Bernard will find some chemistry with Ponder and revive his career? There must be someone out there Bernard can click with. Besides Gus Frerotte.