We hear there is more than one Vikings employee who is upset about the timing of WR Sidney Rice's hip surgery, which likely will keep Rice out until November. Amid rumors early this offseason about Rice wanting a pay raise after his breakout season in 2009, word trickled in via Rice's agent that his client had a hip injury he suffered late in the season and that he likely would be ready by training camp.
Instead, Rice had surgery less than three weeks prior to the start of the season and likely will miss at least eight games. The meat of the Vikings' schedule is in October, when the Vikings face the Jets, Cowboys, Packers and Patriots in consecutive games — games Rice would miss, based on the projected timetable.
Rice, writing on his personal blog, denied any funny business with the timing of the surgery and reported "significant changes" to the condition of his hip after trying it out during some cutting drills. He said that Dr. Marc J. Phillipon suggested having surgery now to prevent the injury from worsening and potentially shortening Rice's career.
When asked initially about his star receiver's health, head coach Brad Childress didn't seem to mention a change in Rice's status necessitating immediate surgery, but he didn't directly blame Rice either.
"In the end, it's up to him whether he wanted to have that procedure or whether he could press through," Childress said. "Obviously he felt it was more of a nag to where he couldn't slough it up. He wanted to remedy it by having a procedure."
It's reasonable to wonder whether Brett Favre would have returned to play this season had he known about Rice's injury, given the way the two bonded last season, although it's a moot point now. Rice became Favre's favorite target much of last season, with Favre looking for him in clutch situations, especially as the Vikings got closer to the endzone.
Now the team will have to shift its personnel and approach at receiver. Bernard Berrian has had a healthy preseason and will be the No. 1 receiver, with Percy Harvin — a weekly concern with his migraines — the No. 2 option who can play inside or outside. Greg Camarillo, who was acquired from Miami, is primarily a slot receiver who could be a solid chain mover.
The mystery man is Javon Walker, once Favre's go-to option in Green Bay in 2005 but a nearly complete bust since '06. Walker doesn't contribute on special teams, so he'll have to impress as a wideout quickly to make the squad.
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