Sidney Rice knows his 2008 season was a disappointment to fans. It was a disappointment to him as well.
"It was real frustrating. Getting hurt the second game and not getting healthy throughout the season, it was real upsetting for me. My main focus is to stay out on the field this year," he said.
Officially, Rice missed only three games last year, but he missed out on a lot more playing time in games he was active as he dealt almost constantly with a strained posterior cruciate ligament. It resulted in a disappointing 15 catches for 141 yards for the talented but underproductive former second-round pick.
That's part of the reason he's putting in more time this year. More time stretching. More time in the training room. And more time in his hyperbaric chamber, which he purchased last year after seeing safeties Darren Sharper and Madieu Williams use them.
"I had talked with Sharper and Madieu and I ended up getting one last training camp. It helped me through a little bit with my quad injury and it helped me in the training room as well," he said after Friday's morning practice.
"I'm sure my muscles will be sore when I settle down and stop moving around. I'm sure I'll hop in there and knock some of the soreness out and I'm sure I'll be ready for the next practice."
Rice looked sharp in training camp's opening day. He was part of the most explosive play of the day, a 65-yard touchdown pass from Tarvaris Jackson in which the receiver caught up to the deep pass.
After a productive first day, he was considering a potential one-man slumber party in his chamber, which helps treat tissue injury and some other medical issues.
"Sometimes I may even sleep in it. I may sleep in it throughout the night tonight. You can roll around in it a little bit. You can sit up in it, get on your computer. I play on my computer while in that," he said.
In fact, Rice even tweeted a picture from inside the chamber to help fans get a look.
Between his return to health and a few offseason additions that include exciting rookie receiver Percy Harvin, Rice has big expectations for the Vikings in 2009.
"The sky is the limit for this team. We did a great job with our draft … and with the team that we already had, building on last year I think we've got an opportunity to do some good things," he said.
That opportunity would look better with Harvin actually participating in training camp. The first-round pick missed the opening day of camp as he remained unsigned despite the two picks in front of him and four behind all getting signed in the last week.
Rice was looking forward to getting Harvin on the practice field and continuing the progression of the receiving corps.
"There's a whole lot of stuff that Percy adds," Rice said. "He's a tremendous receiver, catches the ball, can run the ball out of the backfield, kicking game. All kinds of stuff, so we're looking forward to having him out here."
Rice going ‘hyper' for health's sake
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