However, don't expect any smack talk from Sidney Rice this week as his new team (the Seattle Seahawks) prepare to face his old Vikings team. Rice was surrounded by the Washington media Monday in hopes of getting a comment that would, in the old days of the NFL, be called "bulletin board material."
He provided nothing of the kind. When asked about going up against his former team, Rice said he doesn't hold any animosity and said the Vikings are just another team on the schedule.
"It's football," Rice said of his decision to leave Minnesota for Seattle. "No matter who is on the other side, I'm a Seahawk now and I'm going to war with those guys [his Seattle teammates] and the 12th Man [the name given the fans at CenturyLink Field]. That's all that matters."
Rice, who sat out the Seahawks' preseason opener with a mild shoulder injury, is expected to see his first action of the season Saturday when Seattle plays host to the Vikings. While he is wearing new colors, he hasn't forgotten his friends. He said he still keeps in frequent contact with former teammates Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, as well as wide receivers coach George Stewart.
As expected, Rice has made an impression on head coach Pete Carroll, who told the Seahawks media contingent that he has witnessed the big-play potential Rice displayed in 2009 when Brett Favre was throwing it, as well as the extra effort he puts in during and after practice – a quality that impressed Favre as well when he arrived in Minnesota.
"I think he's just loaded with those kinds of plays," Carroll said of the spectacular catches Rice makes look so easy. "He's really, really talented and he loves to compete in practice, which just fits so beautifully with the way we approach it. He's embracing this opportunity to show who he is, how he fits in and how we can count on him."
Vikings fans had a collective chuckle when word got out that Seattle had signed QB Tarvaris Jackson. When Rice joined him in Seattle, nobody was laughing. They knew what the Seahawks were getting and what the Vikings were losing. Many contend that the struggles the Vikings had last season were the direct result of not having Rice in the lineup. That won't change this year and Seattle now has that asset. His signing was a big loss to the Vikings – even if he won't engage in trash talk like most wide receivers are prone to do.
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.