Active, but how active?
The Vikings made the anticipated announcement Saturday that Sidney Rice
was activated for Sunday's game with the Packers. It should, however, be pointed out that, being on the 53-man roster doesn't necessarily mean he will be out on the field for 60 plays. In fact, he will be monitored as closely as anyone on Sunday. How much will he play? How impressive will he be? Will he be the Sidney Rice that we remember from last year?
A day after getting a weakly-veiled ultimatum from head coach Brad Childress that if he wasn't ready this week, he likely would be placed on injured reserve, the Vikings announced Saturday the Rice had been activated off the physically unable to perform list. He will be available for today's game with the Packers, but to what extent?< br>
Ideally, everyone (except the competition) would like to see the Rice that lit up the NFL last year, but keep in mind that he is coming off what he has termed "complicated" hip surgery. The Packers defenders are literally in mid-season form when it comes to laying big hits on receivers. Rice has yet to take a legitimate hit since his surgery.
As a result, his role Sunday is more likely to be in the 20-play range or perhaps even less. It would seem clear that the more plays Rice can be on the field Sunday, the better the Vikings chances of winning against the Packers. But the 2010 season for the rest of his teammates started in July. Rice's starts five days before Thanksgiving. Don't get expectations too high.
VIKINGS-PACKERS BY THE NUMBERS
The Vikings have the 17th-ranked offense (10th rushing, 18th passing) and the seventh-ranked defense (ninth rushing, ninth passing). The Packers have the 14th-ranked offense (20th rushing, 10th passing) and the 13th-ranked defense (20th rushing, 11th passing).
The Vikings are averaging 340.9 yards a game on offense (219.6 passing, 121.3 rushing). The Packers are averaging 344.7 yards a game (243.1 passing, 101.6 rushing).
The Vikings are allowing 310.8 yards a game (210.8 passing, 100 rushing). The Packers are allowing 326 yards a game (211.8 passing, 134.2 rushing).
The Giants and the Chargers are the only team other than the Vikings to be in the top 10 in both rush and pass defense.
The Packers are tied for 13th on third-down conversions on offense, making good on 43 of 109 chances (39.4 percent). The Vikings are 23rd, converting just 40 of 111 chances (36 percent). The league average is 38.4 percent.
Defensively, both teams have struggled badly on third down. The Packers are 23rd in the league, allowing first downs on 40.7 percent (50 of 123). The Vikings are worse at 26th, letting opponents convert 41.8 percent (51 of 122).
The Packers are ninth in the league in points scored (221). The Vikings are 27th (169). The Packers have allowed the least points in the league (143). The Vikings are 16th (195).
The Packers are fourth in the league in sacks per pass play on defense. The Vikings, who led the league in sacks last year, are 28th.
The Vikings are last in the league in giveaway/takeaway ratio at minus-11 (12 takeaways, 23 giveaways). The Packers are tied for fourth at plus-6 (19 takeaways, 13 giveaways).
How bad is that giveaway/takeaway number for the Vikings? Only three teams have fewer takeaways and only three teams have more giveaways.
The Vikings are tied for 26th in red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 41.4 percent of their chances (12 of 29). The Packers offense is third at 64.3 percent (18 of 28).
The Vikings have come away without any points on 27.6 percent of their red zone chances. Only Carolina (a dismal 52.6 percent) is worse.
The Vikings are 20th in red zone defense, allowing touchdowns on 53.8 percent of red zone chances (14 of 26). The Packers are 12th at 47.6 percent (10 of 21).
Only the Saints (80) have allowed fewer points in the red zone than the Packers (91).
Thanks to teams kicking short to avoid Percy Harvin, the Vikings remain second in the league in average start of a drive following a kickoff – a typical start being the 31-yard line. Green Bay is sixth, with an average start at the 29.1-yard line. The league average is the 26.4-yard line.
On the flip side, both teams are much worse than the league average on defense. The Vikings are last, allowing an average start at the 30.9 yard line. The Packers aren't much better at 29th, allowing an average start of the 30-yard line.
Aaron Rodgers has two 300-yard passing games, while Brett Favre has had one. The Vikings haven't allowed a 300-yard passer, while Green Bay has allowed two.
The Packers have five 100-yard receiving games – two from James Jones and Jermichael Finley and one by Greg Jennings. The Vikings have two – both by Percy Harvin. The Vikings have allowed three 100-yard receivers (all in the last four games) and the Packers have allowed two.
Adrian Peterson has three 100-yard rushing games. The only one for the Packers is by Brandon Jackson. The Vikings have allowed one 100-yard rusher, while the Packers have allowed two – one to A.D. and one to QB Michael Vick.
Last year, Rodgers and Favre were challenging one another for the top-rated QB in the league. This year, both have taken steps backward. Rodgers is 15th in passer rating at 90.1. Favre is a hideous 31st with a passer rating of 72.2.
The only QBs with enough passes to qualify that have a lower passer rating than Favre are Derek Anderson, Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen. It shouldn't count when two of the three are from the same team.
Adrian Peterson is second in the league in rushing with 908 yards. He trails Arian Foster of Houston, who leads the NFL with 920 yards. Green Bay's Brandon Jackson is 21st with 460 yards.
Harvin is 22nd in receiving yards with 583 yards. Greg Jennings is 25th with 551.
Peterson is eighth in scoring among non-kickers with 48 points (eight touchdowns). Harvin is tied for 18th with 38 points (six TDs and a 2-point conversion). Jennings leads the Packers with 36 points (six touchdowns).
Mason Crosby is sixth in the league in scoring among kickers with 65 points. Ryan Longwell is tied for 29th with 47 points.
Peterson is third in yards from scrimmage with 1,189. He trails only Foster (1,239) and Frank Gore (1,193).
Clay Matthews leads the NFL in sacks with 10.5 sacks.
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.
Sidney Rice will play today for the Vikings, but how much? That will be determined by how he feels, and he's going against a fringe top-10 pass defense. Get all the numbers from the Vikings and Packers as they prepare for what could be a season-deciding game.
Sidney Rice will play today for the Vikings, but how much? Get all rankings for today's matchup.