This morning it was reported that Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice would likely miss the first six weeks of the 2010 regular season.
I, like many, were obviously not pleased with the news. Nonetheless, I fully expected that Rice was going to be missing some games since Minnesota signed Javon Walker to a contract.
Hip surgery, the procedure Sidney went through today, was something that several doctor's recommended for Rice early in the offseason. However, he did not feel that surgery would be necessary.
In hindsight, it's clear that he should have gone through with the surgery several months ago.
But before people think the end of the world has come, you should consider the amount of weapons that the Vikings have.
Before Brett Favre came to Minnesota, Rice was thought of as an injury-prone receiver that was automatically labeled a bust after two years of mediocrity.
Rice became a pro-bowler after having the best quarterback in NFL history throw him the ball 16 games a year.
Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe are still on the roster. These three are incredibly talented.
Berrian is under the radar because of his lackluster season that occurred last year. With that said, he was dealing with injuries all throughout last season that enabled him from being full-strength on the field, obviously.
Harvin, although currently "injured", is one of the best young receivers in the game today. He's incredibly quick and agile, which will be a big key through the air, and also on special teams.
Shiancoe came from being a nobody to being one of the best tight end's in the leagues. It's a shame that even after a double-digit touchdown season, he still isn't in the top ten for tight end's.
Not to mention, Marko Mitchell and Greg Lewis are very capable backups that can provide Minnesota with catches when they run four-receiver sets.
Also, Walker could still have talent under that aging body of his. Favre and Javon had arguments in the past when they were both members of the Packers, but those days are definitely long behind them now.
The problem with Walker has always been injuries, which cause inconsistency. Javon also played for the Oakland Raiders, who had one of the worst passing offenses because their quarterback, JaMarcus Russell, is the biggest bust in NFL history.
Don't get me wrong, in no way do I expect him to go back to his old form, but he could still be somewhat of an impact player if he can stay healthy, in shape, and focused.
If the Patriots can win three Super Bowls in four years with Troy Brown as their best option, Minnesota will be able to make the most out of what they have right now.
Yes, he will likely miss the first half of the season, but the final eight games will be more important than anything else. It's up in the air whether or not he will be able to make a significant impact when he returns, though.
Having hip problems limits your ability to run, jump, and make the overall "impact plays". The standard in today's league for receivers is for them to be quick, athletic, and agile.
At this point, Rice really isn't any of those things because of the pain in his hip. Although he's been seen jogging at practice, that is basically the limit he could extend to.
I truly believe that the injury was expected to be healed by late July, early August, but that clearly did not pan out well for them.
Had he gotten the surgery in April, Rice would be on the field for the Vikings' third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
But when life throws you curveballs you must find a way to make the most out of what you have. Minnesota will definitely need every receiver and tight end on the roster to play their heart out.
The one player I'm excited to see make a difference in all of this will be second-year receiver, Marko Mitchell.
Taken with the 243 pick in the 2009 draft, Mitchell was not expected to be much more than a camp body that could potentially make the roster.
On May 3, 2010, Washington waived Mitchell. The Detroit Lions claimed him off waivers two days after. Less than two months later, Marko was waived by yet another team.
On June 28, Mitchell was once again claimed off waivers. This time, it was by the Minnesota Vikings.
With his 6'4", 218 pound frame, he should fair well against much smaller cornerback's. I definitely believe he could have a break-out year with Favre slinging him the football.
In conclusion, losing Rice for a portion of the season stings, but there could be much worse situations for the Vikings right now.
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