WR Sidney Rice played with a handful of QBs and through injuries during his first 2 seasons with the Vikings. The result was a promising rookie season and an injury-shortened 2nd-year that yielded a 2-season total of 46 receptions for 537 yards and 4 TDs.
But this season Rice’s production has sky-rocketed. Through just 11 games, he leads the team with 56 receptions and is 3rd in the NFL and 1st on the Vikings with 964 receiving yards.
There’s no questioning that Rice has a certain future Hall of Fame QB to thank for that. Brett Favre has given Rice opportunities to make catches and Rice has cashed in.
But there’s also another reason for Rice’s sudden surge in production. With the Vikings preparing to face the Arizona Cardinals this weekend, now is an appropriate time to mention it.
The Cardinals feature an ultra-productive WR of their own in Larry Fitzgerald, Jr., a Minnesota native who returned home last offseason to workout with fellow NFL players and a couple of NFL legends – Cris Carter and Jerry Rice.
One of the fellow NFL players who joined Fitzgerald in his offseason workouts was Rice.
Fitzgerald, Jr. says he’s thrilled to see Rice benefiting from those workouts and consequently having a breakout season.
“You know how when you see a friend do something and you are just genuinely happy to see him do it? That’s kind of how I feel,” Fitzgerald, Jr. told Twin Cities reporters on Wednesday. “I saw him working. He really wanted to get better at it and he has. I’m just really happy for him. I want to see him just consistently continue to do it and have big years to come.”
For his part, Fitzgerald, Jr. should be commended for having the attitude he does. In a game that is often polluted with trash-talking and negative energy, seeing one of the NFL’s best WRs working with one of its most promising young players gives you a good feeling about the direction of the game.
Fitzgerald, Jr.’s head coach, Ken Whisenhunt, says it’s a testament to his WRs character, although he’s hoping Rice’s hot streak cools off for Sunday night’s game in Arizona.
“Yeah, I am,” Whisenhunt joked when asked if he’s upset that Fitzgerald played a role in Rice’s production elevating. “But I think that it is good for all of these guys. I think that is compliment to Larry, his willingness to work with other guys. To me, that is what great pros do.”
Tags: Sidney Rice
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