Bye-bye, Bernard: Vikings waive Berrian after another deactivation
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The Minnesota Vikings have cut ties with Bernard Berrian.
An NFL source confirmed the team waived the veteran wide receiver on Tuesday morning after he was inactive for two of the past three games, including Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Neither the Vikings nor Berrian would say why he was declared inactive for that game, although a source said there was no repeat of the incident two weeks earlier when Berrian reportedly missed two team meetings the night before the Vikings' 34-10 victory over Arizona.
The Vikings had grown tired of Berrian's attitude, according to the source, as well as his refusal to put in extra work to improve himself.
Berrian didn't help himself with the team this season by engaging in a Twitter feud with a fan and by tweeting that he had been open for the past four years.
Berrian said Monday that he had met with coach Leslie Frazier and was planning to meet with him again Tuesday to find out whether he would be kept on the roster. Berrian said he wanted to remain in Minnesota.
That did not happen.
Berrian had only seven catches for 91 yards in five games this season.
Berrian, 30, signed a $42 million, six-year contract ($16 million signing bonus) as a free agent with the Vikings in 2008 after spending his first four years with the Chicago Bears. The Vikings needed someone who could stretch the field and Berrian looked like the best option at the time.
In his first season with the Vikings, Berrian finished second on the team with 48 receptions for a team-leading 964 yards and seven touchdowns. This included a 99-yard touchdown catch in a 34-14 victory over the Bears on a pass thrown by Gus Frerotte.
Berrian established a Vikings record for most touchdowns of 80-plus yards with three catches of 99 and 86 yards and an 82-yard punt return.
But things started to go wrong for Berrian as a Viking in 2009. He caught 55 passes but his yardage total decreased to 618 yards and his touchdown total dropped to four.
It became clear he wasn't Brett Favre's favorite target -- Berrian's reception total was fourth on the team -- and one lasting image of Berrian will be of him standing wide open in overtime of the Vikings' loss to New Orleans in the NFC title game as Favre decided to force a pass into the middle of the field for Sidney Rice.
That pass was picked off by the Saints' Tracy Porter and New Orleans won the game on a field goal to advance to the Super Bowl.
Berrian's stats fell off again last year when he caught 28 passes for 247 yards with no touchdowns in 14 games. That was his worst season since 2005 when he caught only 13 passes for 246 yards with no touchdowns in his second year in the NFL.
Despite the lack of production, Frazier often spoke in training camp about what an important part of the offense Berrian would be in 2011. Berrian also agreed to redo his contract, taking $1.9 million to play on a one-year deal.
Frazier wasn't happy but he stood by Berrian when the receiver got into the Twitter exchange with Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, after the Vikings' 22-17 loss at Kansas City on Oct. 2. Berrian told Kriesel to "sit down n shut up" after Kriesel had some fun at Berrian's expense.
What Berrian did not know was that Kriesel is the co-author of the Vikings stadium bill and is a war veteran who lost his legs while serving in Iraq.
Asked Monday in the Vikings locker room if he would like to get his side of the story out about what has happened during his time in Minnesota, Berrian said: "Obviously I would, but I can not talk about that," adding later, "It's very frustrating. Anything negative is always frustrating."
Frazier would not say Monday if a decision had been made on whether to cut Berrian.
"There's just some things that he and I have to talk about to make sure that we can get on the same page about what direction we want to go in," he said. "We're going to have a little meeting of the minds and see where we are."
Asked if Berrian had become a distraction, Frazier said: "One of the things that you're trying to do when you are where we are is make sure that everybody's focused on who we're playing. This week, I think we're playing Carolina. Everybody's focus has to be on the Carolina Panthers. Just got to make sure we get everybody focused on what we have to be focused on."
A reporter asked Berrian if he felt as if he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.
"You hit it right on the nail," he said. "Thank you very much."
• The Vikings gave offensive tackle Ryan Harris a physical on Monday but won't sign the Cretin-Derham Hall product at this point.
Tom Pelissero and Darren Wolfson contributed.