Moss acquisition takes pressure off Rice

Sidney Rice (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty)

Sidney Rice is still hoping to return as soon as possible, but he might not have to force the issue now that the Vikings have acquired Randy Moss. Rice said he hasn't suffered any setbacks yet in his rehab.

The arrival of Randy Moss has made a significant impact on the Vikings, but one of the primary benefits of his arrival is that injured wide receiver Sidney Rice doesn't have to force himself back sooner than needed as he recovers from hip surgery.

Rice, who remains on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list, can't come off the list until after the sixth week of the season. Still on crutches with two weeks to go (at a minimum) on the PUP list, Rice said his rehab from the surgery is going as anticipated and he believes he is on track to return using the usual protocols – whether that will be three more weeks or longer.

"I feel like everything is going well," Rice said. "It's been six weeks and no setbacks. I've done everything the doc has asked me to do. I'm working hard in treatment and the weight room."

Rice said the hardest part of his rehab has been his inability to help out the offense. Favre has repeatedly said during press conferences how much the offense has missed Rice and the special elements he brings to the game. While Rice said he's flattered by the praise that has been heaped on him by Favre, he said it has been a painful reminder that he isn't available.

"Having a quarterback of his stature speak that highly of me is an honor," Rice said. "It doesn't feel good at all that I haven't been able to be out there helping our offense, but it's good to know that he thinks so much of me and my ability to contribute to our offense."

As the Vikings head to New York Sunday for the Jets game, Rice will be heading to Colorado for a follow-up exam. He said he hopes to get good news and start the next level of his rehab in hopes of returning.

"I'm going to see the doctor Monday and hopefully will get an all-clear to continue my return," Rice said. "If they don't see anything wrong, I will be able to step things up. My goal is to get back as soon as I can to help the team. We got off to a tough start and I want to help turn things around. I can't do that until I get back on the field, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything will be fine."

FRIDAY NOTES

  • The Vikings restructured Moss' contract that will preclude the Vikings from using the franchise or transition tag on Moss. Translation? At the end of the season, if the Vikings don't re-sign him to an extension, he will become an unrestricted free agent at season's end – free to sign with any team.

  • The Packers suffered a loss Thursday when it was announced that linebacker Nick Barnett needs surgery – and his season could be done.

  • The Bears lost their first game of the season last weekend when they got crushed by the Giants, but lost more than that during the game. Jay Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half and, on the last sack, sustained a concussion. While it appeared early in the week that he would be able to return, the Bears announced that veteran backup Todd Collins will get the start Sunday against Carolina.

  • The Patriots may not be without a star receiver for long. Days after trading Moss to the Vikings, New England is said to be in talks with San Diego discussing a deal that would send offensive lineman Logan Mankins to the Chargers and bring in holdout WR Vincent Jackson, who worked out a deal with the Vikings only to have it shot down when San Diego demanded two second-round draft picks as compensation.

  • With the acquisition of Moss, it decreased the need for a wide receiver on the practice squad. As a result, the Vikings announced Thursday that they had released WR Logan Payne from the practice squad and signed Georgia Tech offensive lineman Andrew Gardner. He was a sixth-round draft choice of the Dolphins in 2009 who spent last year on the Ravens practice squad after being cut by Miami. He is the third offensive lineman on the practice squad.

  • Payne may know how John David Booty feels. Payne wore Moss' No. 84.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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