There have been missing pieces on both sides of the ball – John Sullivan has missed time at center on offense and Cedric Griffin has once again been lost from the defense – but the one missing piece all along has been Sidney Rice.
Rice has been sidelined with a hip injury that has kept him out all season, but expectations are that Rice could be taken off the physically-unable-to-perform list today and will be in Chicago Sunday to make his return to the field.
Before fans start drinking the Kool Aid too fast, keep in mind that, if he is activated (which isn't a guarantee), he might not get the full complement of plays, even if that's what he would want.
"When I'm out there on the field I want to play every snap I can play. I don't want to be limited," he said. "I want to be able to help the team as much as possible. That's another thing. I don't want to hurt the team in any way. We're in a critical position right now. We need all these wins. I don't want to just throw myself out there knowing I can only get 10 plays and we have another receiver down that could have helped the team out a lot more."
Childress noted that when Cedric Griffin came back from his knee injury earlier this year, he was expected to play only a limited role in his first game back. But when he wasn't feeling any ill effects, he ended up playing a full role as a starter.
The word is that the ultimate call as to whether Rice will be activated from the PUP list will be up to him. That decision will have to be made by 3 p.m. Central Time today. After three months of waiting, it looks as though the "22nd man" is coming back. Whether it's official today or next week, it's coming. And considering the predicament the Vikings are in, it can't come soon enough.
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.