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Two Sides of Rice?

Happier news was promised, and happier news there shall be, damn it!  Anything to distract myself from the fact that Joe Nathan will probably be closing games for the Cubs by this weekend, and Torii Hunter will probably be patrolling CF for the Yankees before the calendar rolls over to August.

The Vikings now only have one draft pick left unsigned, as second round WR Sidney Rice agreed to terms on a four-year contract late this afternoon.  Aundrae Allison saw most of the snaps as the #3 WR with the first team today,  but we can expect Rice to get plenty of reps in that spot as well.

Why two sides of Rice?  Well, yesterday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released DE Simeon Rice after he failed his physical with the team.  Rice suffered a shoulder injury last season in a game against New Orleans and went on IR shortly thereafter.

Now. . .let's play a little game here.  Two questions.  Grab a pen and a paper if you feel it's necessary.

Question #1:  What's the biggest question mark about the Vikings' defense in 2007?

Question #2:  What has Simeon Rice proven himself to be very good at over the course of his career?

I'll give you a few minutes to complete that.

*leaves room*

...

...

*comes back with a Southern Comfort/Mountain Dew cocktail*

Okay, here we go with the answers:

Answer #1:  Their ability to get to the opposing passer.

Answer #2:  Getting to the opposing passer.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a match!  Lord knows that we've got the money to sign the guy, and even if we brought him in to just be a pass rusher, he could be a huge part of an even more successful Vikings' defense in 2007.

Is Rice motivated?  Well. . .let's ask him:

"He's [Gruden] the phoniest [expletive] in the world," said Rice. "Jon Gruden didn't have the decency, after all these years and all we've been through together, to talk to me face to face. I know he's happy today."

"The only fall-off year I had came when I was hurt," he said. "I came here for a million dollars in 2001. I took a pay cut to come to Tampa just to show the world what I could do, and I'm going to come back full throttle. I'm still not 100 percent. I played two games last year with one arm and I'm not right yet. If another team out there respects me, I'll be right in three or four weeks."

"I'm the most consistent thing they ever had in Tampa. I'm excited about the future, because I believe in me. I always bet on black, baby. The next step is to let my body heal up and then I'll be a maniac. I'm an ageless wonder."

Whoever gets me is gonna be happy," said Rice. "I'll be grabbing my crown back. I'll miss [Derrick] Brooks, Brian Kelly, Ronde Barber ... those are my guys forever."

"All the Bucs did today was give me an adrenaline shot in my arm."

(Hat tip to the Tampa Tribune and Buc 'Em for the quote.)

Rick Spielman, make this happen.  PLEASE make this happen.