Vikings’ Sidney Rice still on crutches

MINNEAPOLIS - JANUARY 17: Wide receiver Sidney Rice #18 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates while playing against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on January 17, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Cowboys 34-3. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Vikings would love to have star receiver Sidney Rice back by his target return date of Week 8, but that seems far-fetched given the latest news surrounding his injury.

According to Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Rice is still walking around on crutches following his offseason hip surgery. He’s already stated that he’ll be ready to play two weeks after he’s eligible to come off the PUP list (which is after Week 6), but again, that seems like a stretch.

Once he gets off crutches, he’ll need a couple of weeks to rehab his hip and then he still has to get into game shape. Even if he does come back in Week 8, he’s not going to be the same player he was last year and by the time he is back in shape, the Vikings could be out of the playoff hunt in the NFC.

It’s still early and there’s still plenty of time for Rice to have an impact. But Adrian Peterson and the defense has to keep the Vikings afloat until Rice can come back and help Brett Favre and the passing game. He’s sorely missed at the moment, but he’s still a ways away from playing. There are still doubts that he can have any kind of an impact at all this season.

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Favre denies sending text message to Vikings – will play if healthy

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 20: Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

According to ESPN.com, Brett Favre has denied sending text messages to Vikings officials and teammates telling them that he had decided to retire and also told Ed Werder that if he’s healthy, he will play this season.

Favre also insisted that the decision isn’t about money, even though Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Vikings have offered Brett a raise that would increase his 2010 base salary from $13 million to $16 million.

Favre responded to a Star Tribune report that the Vikings were prepared to offer him more money for the 2010 season if he would play by insisting that his salary is not a factor in the decision. “It’s not about money,” he said.

Well, I would hope it’s not about money considering he’s made over $100 million during the course of his career (which doesn’t include the millions more he has made through endorsements). Money has played a factor in everyone’s decisions at some point or another, but it would be asinine to think that he would play next season for $16 million, but not $13 million.

Here’s the part of the story that I don’t get:

On Tuesday, Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said Favre texted his teammates and told them he plans to retire. Shiancoe added he did not receive any direct messages from Favre, but learned of the texts from several teammates.

“He told a couple guys on our team he’s going to retire,” Shiancoe said after practice on Tuesday. “He hasn’t told me yet. I’m going to check my phone right now, but it hasn’t been said publicly yet so I don’t know what to believe.”

So did Favre send the text messages or not? Because if he didn’t, why did Shiancoe say that Favre told some of his teammates via text messages that he was going to retire? Something doesn’t add up here. Either Brett is a lying windbag or there’s a bad game of telephone going on inside the Vikings’ locker room.

Regardless, this report proves that this situation is far from over. As reported all day yesterday, Favre has yet to make up his mind about whether or not to return. Shocking.

A mock conversation between Brett Favre and Brad Childress

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - AUGUST 18:  Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress (L) walks with Brett Favre #4 after finishing  a passing drill during a Minnesota Vikings practice session on August 18, 2009 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Favre has reportedly agreed to play for the Vikings, a reversal of his announced retirement.  (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)

Since the news of his (latest) possible retirement broke, the one thing that keeps popping into my head is what the conversation would have sounded like between Brett Favre and Brad Childress if Brett had ensured Childress that he was coming back this season but wanted to string the media along.

(When reading the Childress parts, think of a cross between a really excited Will Ferrell and Butters from “South Park.”)

“Hey Brad, it’s Brett.”

“Brett!!! OMG Brett, OMG! It’s soooo good to hear from you – how’s the offseason going? You ready to return?”

“Oh yeah Brad, I’m coming back. But hey listen, I wanted to know if you could help me out with something?”

“For realsies?! Yes! Of course – ANYTHING!”

“Well, first and foremost I don’t want to go to training camp. So you can suck it if you think I’m showing up.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it. Training camp is totally not cool and I wouldn’t expect somebody as wonderful and as awesome as you are to attend.”

“Cool. Secondly, I want to pull a prank on the media again this year. First, I’m going to string them along like I usually do and not tell them what my plans are. What I need you to do is string them along from your end, too.”

“Got it – done. This is so cool…”

“Then, I’m going to slip Peter King some information that my ankle isn’t healing well and how I’m still not decided about whether or not to come back.”

“Oooooh – I love Peter King!”

Read the rest of this entry »

Vikings in trouble? Brett Favre now leaning towards retirement.

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: A fan in the stands holds up a Green Bay Packers #4 jersey as Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings walks off the field after the Vikings lost to the New Orleans Saints 31-28 in overtime during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

When training camp rolled around last year, Vikings head coach Brad Childress was fully prepared to head into the season with either Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson as his starting quarterback.

Let’s hope he still feels that way.

Judd Zulgad of the Minnesota Star-Tribune reports via his Twitter page that Brett Favre began telling Vikings officials last night that he will not return for a 20th season. Apparently Favre’s ankle has not responded the way he had hoped and he is now leaning towards retirement.

First and foremost, if Favre has been honest with the Vikings about his ankle this entire time, then there’s nothing more the team or Childress could expect from Brett. Both Childress and Favre have stated this entire time that they didn’t know what would happen and neither of them said either way whether or not he would return for another season.

That said, the cynic in me wonders if Favre led Childress and the Vikings to believe that he would return. For a guy that went to great lengths to make sure he didn’t hand the job to Jackson last offseason (including trading for Rosenfels and completely avoiding giving Jackson any encouragement through the media), Childress has been awfully calm about his quarterback position this offseason. Is he really fine with heading into the season with either Jackson or Rosenfels? Or had he known that Favre wasn’t coming back, would he have gotten another quarterback at some point over the last couple of months (either in free agency or the draft)?

Granted, this is Brett Favre we’re talking about. This is a man that absolutely despises training camp and will stop at nothing (including tormenting the media with his annual retirement dance) to avoid it. Jackson could be lining up to take his first snap under center in Week 1 and Favre could come running out of the tunnel to proclaim his return.

You just can’t put anything past him.

However, if Zulgad’s report holds true and Favre doesn’t come back, then the Vikings could be in a world of hurt. They still have Adrian Peterson, a solid offensive line and an outstanding front seven on defense, but without Favre and the threat of an efficient passing game, opponents will just stack the box to take away AP. Plus, Don Banks of SI.com reported yesterday that two of three hip specialists recommended that Sidney Rice have surgery in the offseason, which he never did. If Rice is hobbled, the Vikes’ passing game would take yet another huge hit.

Again, we just have to wait and see what happens. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if three weeks from now the media started reporting that Favre was coming back. Training camp will have wound down by then and maybe his ankle will start feeling better too. (I’m sure Childress would literally rip his own soul out of his body for Brett to return, so that’s an option as well.)

But if he doesn’t return, then the entire landscape in the NFC North changes. The Packers already proved last year that they were serious threats to the Vikings. Without Favre in Minnesota, Green Bay would become the favorites to take over the division.

Update: Childress, in the denial stage of grief, has reiterated to the media that Favre has not told him he’s retiring.

Brett Favre and Brad Childress heart drama

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN - AUGUST 18:  Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress (L) walks with Brett Favre #4 after finishing  a passing drill during a Minnesota Vikings practice session on August 18, 2009 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Favre has reportedly agreed to play for the Vikings, a reversal of his announced retirement.  (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)

There are only five things I truly hate in life: Grilled cheese sandwiches, broccoli, grape juice, the Los Angeles Dodgers and drama.

Before I continue, yes, I hate grilled cheese sandwiches. And no, I don’t know why. Maybe because the bread is soaked in butter and there’s enough cheese on the damn thing to clog my arteries for two lifetimes. Throw some damn meat on there and then maybe we can talk.

Outside of maybe the Dodgers (regular readers know I’m a Giants fan), nothing in my group of hates annoys me more than drama. Whether it comes from movies or real life, drama is like pop-up ads when you’re trying to look at content that is not suitable for work.

That is why around this time of year, Brett Favre and Brad Childress really fry my eggs. Listen to what Childress had to say yesterday to the media in relation to Favre’s return in 2010:

“I don’t know if he’s going to play [this] year and I don’t know if he knows if he’s going to play [this] year,” Vikings coach Brad Childress said Thursday during an appearance on the team’s radio home, KFAN (1130-AM). “… I’ve said this and I really believe it even more right now. It would not surprise me either way.”

Let’s cut the crap, shall we? Favre is coming back. He knows it, Childress knows it, and the Vikings know it. Childress wouldn’t be so calm about the approaching season if he knew Tarvaris Jackson was going to be his starting quarterback. In fact, the Vikings wouldn’t have acquired Sage Rosengels from the Texans last year if they were completely sold on Jackson as the starter – I don’t care what “Chilly” says about Tarvaris’ development.

Although hey, none of this is surprising, is it? Childress could have come out and said that the Vikings are prepared to go into the season with Jeff George as their starter and it still wouldn’t be surprising. Favre does drama – and apparently so does Childress now too.

It’s infuriating, but at least I can take solace in the fact that grilled cheese won’t be on the menu today at lunch.

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