MANKATO, Minn. - Some of training camp's most pivotal moments will occur away from the action, in an empty end zone where a few orange cones rest.
Bryant McKinnie was working between those cones Monday, and he might be there for a while unless he satisfies what the Vikings are expecting from him.
Those expectations are unclear as the Vikings placed McKinnie on the non-football injury list to make sure he's "ready to play when the season rolls around."
Frazier was vague after practice about whether McKinnie has an injury or if he's concerned about something else. But when asked about the weight of McKinnie, who looks out of shape upon his return from the NFL lockout, Frazier said, "we're working on that. We're working on that."
McKinnie did not practice and spent the last part of practice running sprints between the cones with right guard Anthony Herrera, who's on the physically unable to perform list after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in November.
When walking off the practice field, McKinnie said he has "issues" and that conditioning would help those issues. Asked to elaborate, McKinnie said he could not discuss it further.
McKinnie is listed at 335 pounds, but his weight became an issue last season after he admitted he was closer to 360.
For insurance, the Vikings have signed former Indianapolis offensive lineman Charlie Johnson to a three-year contract. Johnson, 27, started 54 games for the Colts since 2006.
Early indications are that the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Johnson can provide depth at tackle or guard, but the Vikings also could be trying everything possible to push McKinnie, who is due $4.9 million in salary this season.
This wouldn't be the first time they tried that since the lockout was lifted in late July. The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that the Vikings were making a run at New Orleans left tackle Jermon Bushrod, possibly a ploy to motivate, or even release, McKinnie.
With Herrera's uncertainty and left guard Steve Hutchinson approaching 34, the Vikings need a versatile lineman such as Johnson who can play inside or out.
Just in case.
"(McKinnie's) going to be fine," Frazier said. "We've just got to go through some things and get him ready for the things that are ahead."
Meanwhile, another high-profile Viking isn't practicing, but only for contractual reasons.
The Vikings have restructured the contract of wide receiver Bernard Berrian, who caught 28 passes last season and whose salary came with a $6-million-plus cap hit.
Berrian said he's pleased with a contract restructuring that will make him a free agent after the 2012 season. His previous deal, slated to pay him $3.9 million this season, expired after 2013.
Berrian can't practice until Thursday, when the new league year begins, because of the restructuring. Quarterback Donovan McNabb, whose deal was redone after a trade with Washington, and all Vikings free agents must wait until Thursday to hit the field.
"No, not at all," said Berrian when asked if he was upset by the thought of a restructure that often results in less money. "It was kind of up in the air. I knew in meetings they were talking about it, but when I got word from them that's when we went in and met."
Berrian declined comment on the terms of the deal, and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was unavailable for comment.
After failing to score a touchdown for the first time since 2005 last season, Berrian and Frazier met about the possibilities in coordinator Bill Musgrave's new offense.
"I'm convinced that he knows this is the best place for him," Frazier said. "He knows we have some things around him, we have his best interest at heart. And he has a chance to really thrive in our offense."Click here to order Bryant McKinnie’s proCane Rookie Card.