Stats Spotlight: Vikings WR Sidney Rice

Sidney Rice is having a break-out season for the Vikings. But do you know how he's performed in third-and-long situations, inside the red zone, or when he's likely to be at his best in a game?'s Ed Thompson has those answers and more after digging into the detailed info from STATS.

Sidney Rice was drafted with the 12th pick of the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft out of the University of South Carolina. After starting just seven games during his first two NFL seasons, he's started in ten games this year. The 6-foot-4, 206-pound receiver has caught 63 passes for 1,036 yards and four touchdowns--with four games still remaining on Minnesota's schedule. 

Sidney Rice...

  • Is the team's top target by far. With 94 balls thrown to him already this season, Rice has had 21 more opportunities to make a catch than any other Minnesota receiver this year. 
  • Has caught a team-best 64 passes, but his 67.0 percent receptions rate is just fifth-best out of the team's primary pass-catchers.
  • Has averaged 16.4 yards per catch--tops among Vikings receivers.
  • Is by far the team's top target on first down with 37 passes thrown his direction. Running back Adrian Peterson is second with 23. Rice caught 67.6 percent of those first-play chances, third-best on the team behind Peterson (87 percent) and rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin (76.9 percent).
  • Has caught six of eight opportunities on third-and-long (eight yards or more) for a team-best average gain of 20.5 yards. His 75.0-percent success rate in catching the balls thrown to him in those situations is far better than Harvin's 53.3 percent and wide receiver Bernard Berrian's 41.7 percent--which leaves you wondering why Harvin and Berrian have had more opportunities with 15 and 12 targeted passes respectively.

  • Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin have become a dangerous young duo in Minnesota.
    Elsa/Getty Images

  • Has caught 72.7 percent of balls thrown to him on third down for an average gain of 19.2 yards. That's the best reception percentage among the team's primary receivers and tight ends on third down. And he's earned a first down on 15 of his 16 third-down catches.
  • Has averaged 4.4 yards after the catch, second best among the wide receivers and tight ends. Harvin is averaging 5.94 yards. Rice has been tackled for no gain after the catch 16 times (25 percent), has run for one to 10 yards 42 times (67 percent), 11-20 yards twice (3 percent), and more than 20 yards three times (5 percent).
  • Hasn't been as sharp inside the red zone, catching just six of eleven balls (54.5 percent)for two scores. That's the lowest percentage among Minnesota receivers and tight ends other than Jim Kleinsasser, who only had one opportunity for a red zone catch so far this year. All of the team's other primary receivers, tight ends and running backs are at 71 percent or better. Rice's biggest problem has been in goal-to-go situations where he's caught just one of six pass attempts.
  • Has caught 34 of his 63 receptions (54 percent) out of a three-wide receiver set--which is also when he is most effective with a 73.9-percent reception rate. He drops to 64.5 percent out of a two-wide set, and just 57.1 percent out of a 4- to 5- wide receiver set.
  • Has dropped four passes, putting him in a tie with tight end Visanthe Shiancoe for second-most behind running back Chester Taylor (5). But when you consider that Rice has more passes thrown to him, his 4.3 percent drop rate is second best on the team, trailing only Berrian's 2.7 percent rate. 
  • Has had nine passes that were thrown to him knocked away by a defender. At 12.9 percent, that's the highest rate on the team.
  • Has moved the chains more than any other Vikings pass-catcher with 43 first downs. 68.3 percent of his catches result in a first down. He only trails Harvin (77.1 percent) and Shiancoe (70.0 percent) in that area.
  • Is the team's big-play receiver, pulling in 15 catches for 20-plus yards and averaging a team-best 37 yards per catch on those receptions. 
  • Is averaging 20.0 yards per catch at home, but just 12.2 yards away. And all four of his touchdown catches have been made during home games.
  • Has posted three 100-yard receiving games this season, including a 201-yard game vs. Detroit. Percy Harvin is the only other Vikings receiver to exceed that threshold--and he's done it just once (vs. Chicago).
  • Rice's Top 20 NFL Rankings

    1st (tied) in catches of 25-plus yards. The Cowboys' Miles Austin, Saints' Marques Colston, Colts' Pierre Garcon and the Patriots' Randy Moss also have 11.

    3rd in yards at the point of the catch (759). He's just 22 yards behind the NFL leader, the Giants' Steve Smith.

    4th in receiving yards (1,036) and is just 22 yards off the pace of the Patriots' Randy Moss, the current NFL leader.

    9th in average yards at the point of the catch (12.0)

    13th in catches that move the chains (43). He's only three off the pace of being in the top ten.

    14th in yards per catch (16.4).

    16th (tied) in receptions (63), but is only five off the pace of being in the top ten in this category.

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    A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and at

    Statistics referenced in this article are provided by STATS, LLC. Copyright 2009 by STATS, LLC. Any use or distribution of such Licensed Materials without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

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