Rice progressing, still not there

Wide receiver Sidney Rice is making progress in his return from hip surgery, but he still isn't running routes full speed.

Sidney Rice is looking closer to returning the field for the Vikings. When that will be remains up to debate. He was cornered in the locker room Thursday and asked about his timetable and Rice said he is feeling better, but isn't sure when he will return.

"I think it's going great right now," Rice said. "I'm going to continue to do what they ask me to do and I'm just working to get better and out on the field."

Rice was quick to correct a reporter who saw Rice running routes following Wednesday's practice, which would have pointed to an earlier return to action. Instead, he said he was jogging on the side. He did say he is itching to be back out, but is listening to the advise of the coaching and training staff.

"I don't know when I will be back and I won't put a percentage on it," Rice said. "I'm working hard to get back, but that won't be my decision. When they tell me I'm ready, I'll go. They just don't want me to push anything too hard and take a chance on making it worse than it is now."

Rice has two-plus weeks to be activated to the 53-man roster or placed on season-ending injured reserve. If activated from the physically unable to perform list, it will have to happen by Nov. 9, the day following the Week 9 matchups.

  • Brett Favre wasn't wearing his walking boot in the locker room, adding to speculation that he will be available Sunday.

  • Whether it's subterfuge or legitimate, the Vikings are sending mixed signals to Favre's status. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said that he thinks Favre will find a way to play, while the Star Tribune reports that head coach Brad Childress is leaning toward having Tarvaris Jackson start, according to an NFL source.

  • If Favre does play, he may end up doing what he initially thought his primary job would be – turning and handing the ball to Adrian Peterson. For his part, A.P. said he's up for the challenge of carrying 40 or 50 times if needed, saying, "I can carry the load. That's one thing I've always said. That's how I prepared going into the offseason – to be able to carry the team if I have to. I accept the challenge."

  • Peterson is currently ranked 10th in NFL history for most rushing yards in his first four seasons. With 149 yards, he will pass legend Walter Payton for ninth place in his first four seasons. If A.P. stays healthy, many more will fall along the way.

  • For the CSI types looking for clues as to who will start Sunday, Favre, who wears a Size 14 shoe, has been sized with a Size 15 shoe for his left foot. The inference is that such a shoe would allow Favre to play with his injured foot heavily, heavily taped.

  • The fine cops will be making their weekly report of who owes what today, although Washington's Albert Haynesworth was slapped with a $7,500 fine Thursday in advance of the fines anticipated today.

    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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