A pointed topic during Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress and QB Brett Favre’s press conferences Wednesday centered around the possible return of WR Sidney Rice for Sunday’s matchup against the Chicago Bears.
Rice has missed the entire season up to date after undergoing hip surgery during the preseason and was cleared to practice with the team last Wednesday. Rice’s eligibility last week started a 21-day period in which the Vikings must decide to place him on the active roster or Injured Reserve by Nov. 24.
“It’s not going to be a sole source deal where I say he’s playing,” Childress told reporters of Rice’s possible return. “He’s got a pretty good feel having played in this league. Even though he’s not going to flop on the turf out here or get caught in a nutcracker drill out here (at practice). Just that he’s got all the things he can do to play at the high level that he’s used to playing at, that he can defend himself, and that he’s going to feel okay about absorbing a hit.”
Childress has mentioned before that with any injured player there is a process in which they need to go through in order to get back onto the game field. And Rice’s return is no exception. The 4-year veteran has been practicing with the team since Nov. 4 and by gauging his range of motion, running and cutting abilities, it looks as if his hip has responded well to the surgery.
Rice’s return on Sunday at Soldier Field is possible, but the head coach acknowledged that if he were active against the Bears, he would be carefully integrated into the offense.
“I don’t think that it’s realistic that he can come right in and go 60 or 70 plays right away,” Childress said. “He’s been cleared for all activities right now, so the minute he feels that he can play, he can play.”
Favre kept a cautiously optimistic approach to Rice’s return on Sunday, but just like the rest of the team and fan base, wants to see the 6-4, 202-pounder return to form.
“I like the progress he’s making,” Favre said. “I wanted him eight, nine weeks ago, so he can’t get here soon enough. But I do want him, when he steps on for good, to feel confident that he’s not going to look back.”
Tags: Sidney Rice
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