Sidney Rice out until midseason – are the Vikings in store for a fall?

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: Sidney Rice #18 of the Minnesota Vikings makes a reception against Randall Gay #20 of the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 31-28 in overtime. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

It’s only one player – a receiver, mind you. And even though this particular receiver caught 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns last season, he’s still only a receiver.

The Vikings can get by without Sidney Rice, who has elected to undergo hip surgery and is expected to miss half of the regular season. They still have Adrian Peterson, a solid offensive line, an excellent defense and an above average linebacker corps. And even though Rice was a huge part of their offense last season, Brett Favre has a habit of turning previously no-named receivers into Pro Bowlers.

Just look at Rice himself.

But even though the Vikings made it to the NFC Championship Game last season with practically the same roster, does anyone else get the sense that this team is in store for a freefall this year?

Favre is another year older and is coming off ankle surgery. Rice is out until midseason. Percy Harvin’s migraines are already holding him back. Peterson presumably still has fumbling issues. Versatile backup Chester Taylor is in Chicago. The secondary still has question marks. Etc.

Oh yeah, and Brad Childress is still in charge.

Even before Rice was hurt, I liked the Packers’ chances more than I did the Vikings. Assuming their offensive line holds up, they seem to be a more complete football team right now than the Vikings, whom everyone will be gunning for this season after they ripped apart the competition last year. That’s not to say that Minnesota isn’t a playoff contender because it is. I just don’t get the sense that this team is built to hold up for an entire 16-game season.

Again, Rice is only one player and I’m certainly not suggesting that because he’s out that the Vikings will crumble. But does anyone have more confidence in them right now than the Saints, Cowboys or Packers? I could see the Vikes racing out to a decent start but fading down the stretch. And I have zero faith in Childress to keep everything together.

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Percy Harvin collapses at Vikings’ practice

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 20: Percy Harvin #12 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)

Vikings’ beat writer Chip Scoggins writes that receiver Percy Harvin collapsed at the team’s facility today at practice and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Harvin, who has suffered from severe migraines, was not on the field for the start of practice. He was seen talking to head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman outside the locker room at Winter Park and then jogged onto the field to watch practice. A few minutes later, Harvin vomited and then fell to the ground.

He came out for special teams practice and started having problems when he looked into sky catching punt.

Vikings coach Brad Childress on Harvin’s migraines: “That one hit and it hit hard. Always scary for all of our guys when you see teammates struggling.”

The Vikings ended practice early and even held a team prayer, so the situation is obviously serious. Harvin missed the last two weeks of camp due to migraines and more than likely, this episode had something to do with his headaches.

Migraine sufferers are often sensitive to light and sound. The headaches can also cause nausea, vomiting and sometimes affect the person’s vision. As a frequent migraine sufferer myself, I know first hand that they can be crippling and I hope that Harvin is okay.

One of the bad things about migraines is that they’re incredibly hard to predict. You can avoid triggers like certain foods and drinks, but they can often come on due to strenuous activity or even a change in weather. This isn’t like when you break a bone and you know it’ll heel in 6-8 weeks. The Vikings can’t assume that Harvin will be ready to play in a couple of days, as he could have another attack at any time. (He missed the Vikings’ win over the Bengals last year due to migraines, as well as some practice time during the playoffs.)

Again, hopefully he’s okay and he’ll be able to continue everyday activities soon.

Are Harvin and Rice pulling a Favre?

MINNEAPOLIS - JANUARY 17: Percy Harvin #12 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on before playing against the Dallas Cowboys during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on January 17, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

According to NBC (via the ultra-shady, the Vikings have sent a five-day letter to Percy Harvin as a warning to rejoin the team or risk suspension and/or fines.

Harvin has been dealing with migraines over the last couple of days, but there’s speculation that he and fellow receiver Sidney Rice are avoiding training camp a la Brett Favre. (Players hate this time of year and Favre has been known to do whatever it takes to skip camp.)

As a fellow migraine sufferer, I know first-hand how bad they can get. When they come on, your vision can get blurry and it often feels as though someone is driving a metal spike through one of your eyes. People who suffer from them often have a high sensitivity to light and sound, so trying to sleep is about the only thing you can do when one attacks. They can also last for several days.

With that in mind, I don’t blame Harvin for not showing up to camp if he’s suffering from migraines. This isn’t the first time they’ve gotten in the way of him practicing, as he had to miss several days last year because of them, too. That said, if he’s using them as a way to get out of practice, then the Vikings are well within their rights to send him the letter and force him to show up. If nothing else, he could see the team’s doctors and maybe they could help him with his headaches.

This is story is worth following leading up to the regular season. If neither Harvin nor Rice shows up to camp soon, maybe there’s something to the rumors that they’re pulling a Favre and playing hooky. If that’s the case, then the Vikings could have a small problem on their hands.

Harvin practices, makes trip to New Orleans

Rookie of the Year winner Percy Harvin was back at practice for the Vikings on Saturday after missing the past two days with migraine headaches.

One source told Werder the symptoms Harvin was suffering from with his migraine headaches were less severe but the problem still lingers.

Harvin traveled with his teammates to New Orleans for the NFC Championship Game later Saturday, the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune reported.

He was listed as questionable on the official injury report but his availability to play remained undetermined.

Hopefully for the Vikings’ sake, Harvin will be able to play. He gives the team another deep threat to go along with Sidney Rice and is also explosive when Brad Childress gets him carries in the backfield.

Hopefully the migraine (which can often last days) won’t linger much longer and he’ll be 100%.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Migraines could sideline Harvin for NFC title game

Vikings’ rookie receiver Percy Harvin missed practice for the second straight day due to migraine headaches and now there’s some question about whether or not he’ll be able to play in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

Migraines are no joke, which is why Harvin hasn’t even been able to go through a light practice. They almost feel like someone is repeatedly driving a stake through one of your eyes, while any noise or light adds to the pain. In extreme cases, some people even have to be on suicide watch because the pain is so intense. (I’m not an expert on the subject, but I suffer from migraines myself and have gained some knowledge on them throughout the years from multiple doctors.)

This isn’t a situation in which Harvin would be able to tough out the pain. Migraines can affect your vision, focus and concentration, and therefore if Harvin wakes up with pain on Sunday then there’s zero chance that he will play.

This of course, is bad news for the Vikings. Harvin has game-changing speed and would be a viable asset on a fast track like the Superdome. Here’s hoping for Minnesota’s sake that he’s able to go and is pain free.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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