Notebook: Bernard Berrian, Chad Greenway not sweating contracts
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- If Bernard Berrian is concerned about becoming a victim of the NFL's reduced salary cap, he sure wasn't showing it on Sunday.
"Until I hear otherwise, I'm just really ready to get back to work," the Minnesota Vikings' veteran receiver said. "If we have to cut ties, then we have to cut ties."
Berrian was upbeat as he walked the red carpet before the Starkey Hearing Foundation awards gala on Sunday -- a staunch difference from much of last season, when he sparred with the media, lamented his ever-changing role in the Vikings' struggling offense and drew criticism for scratching himself from a November game at Chicago.
The 30-year-old finished with five-year lows in receptions (28), receiving yards (252) and touchdowns (none). But coach Leslie Frazier told Berrian after the season finale he remained in the team's plans, and the NFL lockout has wiped out the offseason that might have allowed the Vikings to develop younger alternatives.
"I definitely do feel good about being in Minnesota still," Berrian said. "I signed a (six-year contract in March 2008), so I would love to play through that. But you know how the game works -- we all know it's a business, and sometimes, things don't work out the way we want (them) to."
Berrian is due $3.9 million in 2011 base salary, plus a $100,000 workout bonus. He also has $1.425 million in "likely to be earned" incentives that, combined with the prorated portion of his signing bonus, pushes his cap number to $6,258,333.
Cutting Berrian before the season would save the Vikings $3,758,332 against the $120.375 million cap, which is somewhat flexible but also down from around $128 million in the last capped year of 2009. The Vikings reportedly are $5.148 million over the cap.
Asked if he would consider restructuring to stay with the Vikings, Berrian said. "It all depends. I'd have to go back and talk to my agent (Drew Rosenhaus, who also represents Rice) and have all the talks and discussions that we need to go through for that. But whatever happens, it's going to happen -- one way or the other."
Linebacker Chad Greenway also is in line for contract restructuring, although his situation is far different.
The Vikings placed the franchise tag on him in February and Greenway signed it, ensuring himself of a one-year base salary of around $10.1 million. But there seems to be mutual interest in doing a long-term extension that would free up space under the cap.
"Obviously, by signing the franchise tag, basically it puts them under the gun where the salary cap is going to come back in at," Greenway said. "So, (he and his wife, Jenni) need to be just smart about the opportunities we're going to have. We think that we want to be in Minnesota, but at the same time, we want to do what's best for us as well."
Even with retired quarterback Brett Favre's salary off the books, the Vikings' payroll remains somewhat top-heavy. They have more than half of their cap space committed to seven players: halfback Adrian Peterson ($12.775 million), end Jared Allen ($11,562,782), Greenway, defensive tackle Kevin Williams ($7,416,666), cornerback Antoine Winfield ($6.85 million), guard Steve Hutchinson ($6.73 million) and Berrian.
Peterson, who is entering the last year of his rookie deal, is another prime candidate for an extension that might have to get done before camp to avoid a holdout. Hutchinson, who is declining at age 33, also could be approached about restructuring.
Greenway, 28, said he's "looking forward to a long-term deal if that's in the future" but also said it would be "incredible" to play one season for the amount he'd make under the franchise tag.
"It's not one of those things where, the first contract they put up, you're going to sign the paper, because that's what you want," Greenway said. "We're going to make sure we get a fair deal and what we deserve and go from there. They've been good to us and they've never one time turned their back or lied to us at all. So, at this point, I have no reason to think that the Vikings would do anything different besides be a great organization."
How helter-skelter has the distribution of new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's playbook been during the lockout?
Berrian said he still hasn't seen it -- "I need to get a copy of that someway, somehow," he said -- while halfback Toby Gerhart said he received two copies.
The first came from tight end Kyle Rudolph, who got it from another rookie, quarterback Christian Ponder. The second came from receiver Greg Camarillo, who also got it from Ponder during a series of workouts together in Bradenton, Fla. -- sessions Berrian also was expected to attend before missing his flight.
"Twitter here, text message here," Gerhart said, "but I got it, I looked over it, and it should be a good offensive system here."
Like Ponder, center John Sullivan got a playbook during the brief period the lockout was lifted in April and made copies for several teammates, including tackle Phil Loadholt. But no one has explored the new scheme under coaches' supervision.
Sullivan was part of a group including Hutchinson, Greenway and a handful of others that worked out at a local high school while waiting for the work stoppage to end.
"It's been a different type of experience," Sullivan said. "Guys have been in and out of town and (players) kind of have to limit where you go, because you never know when you're going to get called back. But we stayed in shape, hired a trainer to make sure we're pushing ourselves and running and been lifting the whole time, so we're ready to go."
• The Starkey Hearing Foundation's mission is to change the social consciousness of hearing matters and provide the gift of hearing to those in need around the world. Many Vikings are involved in part because the foundation is headquartered near the team's facility in Eden Prairie. "You think you're crazy when you're a kid and you get the present you've always wanted and you open it and how excited you are," Hutchinson said. "But then when you see a kid hear for the first time, it blows it out of the water. It's kind of hard to explain." About 10 Vikings players were scheduled to attend Sunday's gala, where honorees included former U.S. President Bill Clinton and actress Marlee Matlin.
• Berrian was positive about the possibility of Rice re-signing, although that could impact his own future with the team. "You'd always love to see Sid return, but he's his own person, he's his own man," Berrian said. "He's got to make decisions for him and his family, and that's the way you've really got to look at it. I love Sid. He's a great player. He's going to do great things wherever he plays at. Hopefully, he'll be here."
• Gerhart said Peterson's contract situation hasn't crossed his mind. "For me, it's just getting ready for the season," Gerhart said. "Adrian's a fantastic back. It was great playing with him last year, learning from him and look forward to doing that in the future and however long that may be."