It seems like we’ve had a blog entry on this topic several times over the past few weeks, but each time it’s worth noting. WR Sidney Rice continues to standout and emerge for the Vikings, with his latest effort against the Steelers resulting in 11 receptions for 136 yards.
Rice is the team leader in receptions with 34 and receiving yards with 545. He is the 7th leading receiver in the NFL in terms of receiving yards and he’s averaging 16 yards per catch. Yesterday’s 136-yard effort marks back-to-back 100-yard weeks for the 3rd-year receiver.
Asked after the game about his continued emergence, Rice cited 2 main factors.
“Maturing first of all,” Rice said, “and bringing (QB Brett) Favre in has helped out a whole lot. Bringing a guy in who is comfortable in all of us receivers helps a lot.”
Rice is a great guy and is a tremendous teammate in the locker room. He is always quick to mention others, such as the offensive line and Favre, when asked about his recent success. I would also submit that Rice’s position coach, George Stewart, has been vital in Rice’s development from a young, raw 2nd round pick in 2007 to the emerging talent that he’s become.
On top of the sheer impressive numbers that Rice is putting up, it’s important to note the magnitude of the plays that Rice is making. He’s not accumulating a bunch of catches and yards in garbage time or unimportant situations.
The 6-4 WR caught a 34-yarder on 4th and 1, a 17-yarder on 3rd and 4 and a 25-yarder on 3rd and 18. Those 3 plays came at crucial points in the game and were a main reason the Vikings were able to position themselves for a win at Heinz Field. Also consider that Rice had a TD nullified by a tripping penalty and another 35-yard reception taken away because of a holding penalty.
When the Vikings selected Rice back in the 2007 draft, they took on criticism for selecting the former South Carolina Gamecock over Dwayne Jarrett, the record-setting WR from Southern Cal. Rice was just 20 years old and didn’t have the production Jarrett had at a better program.
Right now, the Vikings aren’t fielding criticism for having Rice, while Jarrett continues to sit on the bench for a struggling 2-4 squad in Carolina.
Tags: George Stewart, Sidney Rice
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 14 Comments »