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When Will Sidney Rice Return?

November 18, 2010

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice has not played in a game since last season’s NFC Championship. After undergoing hip surgery in late August, Rice was on crutches for 8 weeks. Doctors cleared Rice to practice earlier this month, and the Vikings must make a final roster decision on him by next Wednesday, November 24. Players coming off of the physically unable to perform (PUP) list are given a three-week practice exemption before the team must decide to activate the player, release him, or place him on season-ending injured-reserve.

When asked if Sidney Rice will be back to face the Packers this weekend, head coach Brad Childress replied that he is unsure.

“I don’t know,” Childress told reporters during a Wednesday press conference. “I know what I see with my eyes in terms of him practicing; how many snaps he could give you, how many realistic snaps. Would he break down again? Those are all things you’d have to guess on.”

Childress and the Vikings have contended that the decision to return lies solely on the shoulders of Sidney Rice.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune speculated that Rice may be delaying his decision because “returning to play six games for a team going nowhere isn’t worth the risk.” Rice is in the final year of his contract, and with the uncertainty of a new collective bargaining agreement next season, Rice may be weighing his future.

Sidney Rice apparently took offense to the Star Tribune’s assertion. Rice posted on his personal blog that his future contract has nothing to do with him not playing this season. He called the report “a bunch of bull.”

“Someone out here wrote a column today saying that I wasn’t going to come back and talked about how it related to my contract situation. But you can ask any of the news people around here, not once have I spoken about a contract or wanted money. My objective is to get out on the field and play when I’m healthy and it has nothing to do with my contract…That’s a bunch of bull. I wouldn’t dare do the fans or my teammates like that.”

After Rice finished commenting on his side of the story, he did provide a cautiously optimistic outlook for Sunday.

“I’m anxious to get out there today [Wednesday] and I look forward to Saturday to see how I feel after a hard week of practice. When I wake up hopefully everything will be alright and I’ll be ready to go on Sunday. My plan is to go. But it will come down to a Saturday decision.”

The team will have until 4:00 p.m. CDT time on Saturday to activate Rice to their active roster. As Rice said himself, it all comes down to how he feels Saturday morning.

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