The Vikings may have seen the future Saturday at training camp when a 6-4 wide receiver wearing No. 18 took to the practice field. Sidney Rice, who signed a contract late Friday, was surrounded by reporters following his first practice Saturday morning and said he's ready to make his imprint on the Vikings offense.
Rice, who said he's been learning all of his playbook assignments while waiting to sign, said he was put through his paces early, running seven or eight consecutive "go" routes. Aware that he has a chance to make plays for the Vikings, Rice said he's ready for the challenge.
"I'm excited," Rice said of getting his pro career underway. "I know my plays and know what I'm supposed to do and know what the coaches expect of me."
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell echoed the team's excitement over Rice, who, from simply the size standpoint, reminded some sideline observers of Randy Moss a decade earlier.
"As we were going through the draft preparations, the one thing that he has, not to say that the other guys don't, are excellent ball skills," Bevell said. "You put the ball in his vicinity, he has the ability to come down with it. He can jump up and catch it at its highest point, and those are some of the things that we like about him."
Rice said the first thing he planned to do following the practices was to sit in a cold bath and keep his muscles from tightening up – something easier said than done as the heat built its way up during the afternoon practice into the low 90s.
* Rice is going to wear No. 18. The last time a Viking player had that number was Randy Moss, who wore it during the preseason before switching to No. 84 at the start of the regular season. At that time in 1998, wide receivers had to wear a number in the 80s if one was available.
* Adrian Peterson's holdout hit its third day Saturday. He remained one of 10 first-round picks that remain unsigned – five of which are among the top seven picks.
* Pat Williams was mum about his contract negotiations Saturday, which are said to have broken down without a contract extension being agreed upon. Williams' agent has gone on record saying that, as it stands now, Williams' 2007 season may be his last as a Viking.
* Kevin Williams came to the defense of his linemate, saying, he hopes "he'll get his due" – which loosely translates to showing Big Pat the money.
* As expected, Erasmus James is on the physically unable to perform list, but he said Saturday he's hopeful to get off the PUP list soon and start competing for what he believes is still his starting job.
* DE Brian Robison left the afternoon practice with a leg strain. Safety Darren Sharper, who complained of some dizziness, missed the afternoon session as well. LB Ben Leber was in uniform Saturday, but sat out both practices with a calf injury.
* Brad Childress kept to his word about play-calling, letting Bevell call plays in some of the offensive sessions Saturday. Childress did almost all the play-calling a year ago and caught some heat for not letting his assistants do what is typically part of the their job description. Childress rarely called plays when he was offensive coordinator for the Eagles.
* The team will have one practice session this afternoon before returning to two-a-day practices Monday.
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