Sidney Rice to make his 2010 debut on Sunday?

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 20: Sidney Rice #18 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)

The Vikings apparently have their answer.

Just hours after numbnut Brad Childress reveled that the Vikings threatened receiver Sidney Rice with injured reserve if he didn’t play this week, NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reports that Rice is “almost certain” to lace ‘em up against the Packers on Sunday.

Rice had been stalling about whether or not he would play because he becomes a free agent at the end of the year and doesn’t want to risk further injury. He’s missed the past 10 weeks after undergoing hip surgery in the offseason and if he winds up suffering another injury, it could wind up costing him millions on the open market next year.

But the Vikings need him to play now, which is where the aforementioned threat came in. They’ve been saving a spot on their 53-man roster and they’ve grown impatient wondering whether or not he’ll play. The ball has been in Rice’s court for the past two weeks and per reports, he’s looked healthy in practice.

What this means for the Vikings is simple: Brett Favre now has his deep threat back. But that doesn’t mean Rice will be effective right out of the gates. Don’t forget that he hasn’t played since Minnesota lost to New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game last year. He’s been able to practice, but obviously that’s not the same as playing in a real game. The defenders that he’ll be seeing on Sunday already have nine games under their belts and he still has to get up to game speed. It’s great for the Vikings that he’ll play, but it’s a little unrealistic to think that he’ll be the player he was last year when he hasn’t seen game action in nearly 10 months.

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