Vikings coach Brad Childress said Sidney Rice would either be activated Saturday to the 53-man roster for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers or likely have his season end.
"Really, you're not going to do any more between now and Tuesday, so we're either putting him up for Sunday or putting him down on Tuesday," Childress said after Friday's practice.
Rice declined to comment in the locker room after practice but indicated to reporters that he was aware of Childress' plan. Later, he told ESPN that he would play.
"I'm going to play," Rice told ESPN. "I don't think I can go the whole game, but I'm going to play as much as I can."
The 2009 Pro Bowl receiver had surgery on his hip on Aug. 23 and has been practicing for the last two-plus weeks. The Vikings have said the decision is up to Rice if he's ready to play or not, but he has been cleared for the last two weeks to do everything. Childress said Rice, who hasn't played in a game since the NFC Championship in January, wasn't as sore this week.
"Not as bad as last week is what he told me. We'll see how he does tomorrow. We'll wait til (Saturday)," Childress said.
Rice isn't the only receiver whose status was in doubt this week. Bernard Berrian was active for Sunday's game in Chicago, but he told coaches less than 90 minutes before the game that his groin wasn't feeling good enough to allow him to play.
Childress said Berrian is making progress this week.
"Not ready to crown him ready to go yet, but he did more certainly than he did yesterday," Childress said Friday. "He'll have to be able to run full speed (Sunday). He'll have to be able to run a go route. There's no other way to say it. We'll have to see if he can do that."
The Vikings' leading receiver this year, Percy Harvin, is continuing to progress from a sprained ankle that has been giving him trouble the last couple week. He hasn't missed a game this season, but he was sidelined for the final eight minutes of Sunday's game after he aggravated the injury on a fourth-quarter kickoff return.
"I think it's just going to be something that continues to twinge on him every now and then. That's the way ankles typically are, whether he gets kicked or rolls it," Childress said. "But he practiced more this week."
Berrian is listed as questionable and Harvin is probable, but the Vikings don't have to designate Rice on the injury report because he isn't officially on the 53-man roster yet.
BIENIEMY IN DEMAND?
Childress acknowledged that the University of Colorado has shown an interest in running backs/assistant head coach Eric Bieniemy for its vacant head-coaching job.
"I've gotten a preliminary call. They go about it kind of circuitously," Childress said.
Bieniemy, who played for Colorado from 1987-90 before playing in the NFL from 1991-99 had "assistant head coach" added to his duties this year and Childress has often praised Bieniemy's skills.
"I do think highly of him. I think he can be a coordinator in this league and I think before it's over that he could probably be a head coach in this league," Childress said. "I know what his recruiting skills are like. He's an excellent recruiter, excellent people person. Great, great teacher of offensive football. We'd hate to lose him, but certainly if he has that opportunity it would be hard to hold him back."
Childress said no one from the University of Minnesota has requested to speak with him about anyone on his coaching staff regarding the Gophers' opening.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don't know what they're looking for – offense, defense – don't know," Childress said.
CHANGES WITH SACKS
Jared Allen was credited with another sack in the Chicago game because he was the nearest defender when Jay Cutler ran out of bounds for no gain. The scoring change, made the Elias Sports Bureau (the official statisticians of the NFL), gives Allen 5½ sacks on the season and 4½ in the last two games. If he can continue to the build on the momentum, it could mean the difference in Pro Bowl voting.
"There's a lot of circumstances that lead to sacks. You've got to get the guy to the ground," Allen said. "I don't know how many I've missed this year. I missed two in the Green Bay game. In that Arizona game, they had to spread the ball out and they had to go down the field. They couldn't check the ball down. They held the ball a little longer. That starts some momentum, gives you some confidence that gets you out of that so-called slump. Then I had a good game against Chicago.
"It's one of those things you keep plugging away. More importantly, we're trying to win football games. That gets lost in the shuffle. When you're losing everybody wants to know why you're losing or who's not doing their job. There's a lot of circumstances to a lot of things."
The change is sacks also increased the Vikings' season total from 13 to 14. They had a league-leading 48 last year.
According to coaches review of game film, Allen now has 17 hurries in the last two games.
Elias credited Brett Favre with taking a sack after it looked like the Vikings got through the Bears game without giving up a sack. The ruling came on a play with 26 seconds left in the second quarter when Favre was scrambling and was stripped of the ball. Initially the play was ruled a 1-yard rush before he fumbled, but Elias said he fumbled behind the line of scrimmage, making it a sack. That means Favre was sacked 18 times this season.
S Eric Frampton (hamstring) has been ruled out for Sunday. In addition to Berrian (groin), Anthony Herrera (elbow) and John Sullivan are questionable. Asher Allen (concussion), Chris Cook (knee), Brett Favre (ankle/foot), Percy Harvin (ankle) and Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) are probable.
For the Packers, WR Donald Driver (quad), Korey Hall (back), Ryan Pickett (ankle) are questionable. All the other players on the Packers injury report are probable, meaning they are a virtual certainty to play.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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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