So ya wanna dump out yo' trick bag.
Ease on in a hip thang,
But you ain't just exactly sure what's hip.
As you've no doubt already heard, Sidney Rice had hip surgery on Monday for an injury he apparently suffered in the NFC Championship Game. The recovery time for such a surgery means that Rice is going to miss as much as the first half of the 2010 regular season.
To be honest, when I first heard this, I couldn't quite wrap my head around it. Rice had a breakout season in 2009, leading the Vikings in receiving yards and bursting onto the scene as one of the game's best young receivers in his third NFL season. He's also going into a contract year for a team with championship aspirations and a quarterback who told him last year that he was "always open." So, why exactly did he put off having surgery?
From the sounds of it, he put it off because he was advised that he could get through it without having surgery.
Rice also visited Steadman Clinic in June and said his hip "showed significant changes" for the worse when he went back. "He said it was something I could try and work through," Rice said of his initial visit. "That was the plan I tried. I was trying to rehab it. The area just got worse."
Now, I'm no medical expert or anything like that, but one would think that if the hip injury had gotten worse. . .five months after it had originally been suffered. . .that surgery should have been the number one option. However, I'm not Sidney Rice, and I'm not Sidney Rice's doctor, and now the Vikings will be without him for approximately the first half of the season. Rice did say that he rode an exercise bike for 20 minutes on Monday after the surgery, which can only be viewed as a positive, but at this point the Vikings shouldn't be counting on him any time soon.
So, the other question concerns exactly what the Vikings are going to do at wide receiver now, in light of Rice's injury and Percy Harvin's battles with migraine headaches. The Vikings made the signing of Javon Walker official, so he's now a part of the mix at wide receiver. Yes, Walker had a pretty good chemistry with Brett Favre back in Green Bay. . .unfortunately, his last time with Favre came five seasons, two teams, and a bunch of knee surgeries ago. Granted, a couple of those seasons came with a franchise so awful that they even made Randy Moss terrible, but at this point he can't be counted on to be anything more than a nice complimentary option.
Bernard Berrian is pretty much the top receiver by default at this point, and he'll be joined by Percy Harvin (when he's available), Greg Lewis, and the aforementioned Walker. The battle for the fifth wide receiver spot still rages on, and it will rage on without Joe Webb, who Brad Childress has already said isn't moving back to wide receiver. This means that Visanthe Shiancoe will probably become an even bigger part of the offense. However, this probably means that the Vikings' offense in 2010. . .at least to start with. . .is going to be largely placed on the shoulders of someone other than #4.
Fortunately for us, that guy wears #28. And, to borrow a line from modern-day Canadian philosopher Chris Jericho, he is the best in the world at what he does. Adrian Peterson has no doubt been chomping at the bit all summer long to get back onto the field and re-establish himself in the face of all the whispers that have been tossed around about him this off-season. He certainly has the talent to take this offense and put it on his shoulders for extended periods of time. . .you know, like the entire 2008 season. . .and he may be asked to do so until the Vikings get their wide receiver situation in order.
It could be worse. It could be much, much worse. But it's not. Such is life when you have one of the most talented rosters in the league.