Wide receiver Sidney Rice was one of the men most responsible for the Vikings’ great playoff run in 2009. Today PFT learned that Rice will retire from the NFL, citing a history of concussions.
Rice was drafted out of South Carolina by the Vikings in the second round in 2007. The team had high hopes for the athletic 6-4 wideout but injuries and lack of quality quarterbacking kept him from realizing his early promise.
It wasn’t until Brett Favre’s arrival in 2009 that Rice got a chance to really show what he could do. Rice quickly developed into Favre’s favorite downfield target, and went on to compile brilliant numbers for the NFC runner-up Vikings – 83 catches for 1,312 yards and 8 TDs.
Finally, it seemed the Vikings had found a replacement for Randy Moss. What they didn’t count on was Rice’s body breaking down (maybe they should have after all the injuries he suffered his first two seasons).
A hip injury forced Rice to undergo surgery before the 2010 season: just the first in a long succession of misfortunes that would plague that year’s team. Rice actually waited too long to have the surgery – some accused him of putting off the surgery because he was mad about the team not negotiating a new contract – and wound up missing half the year.
By the time Rice returned it was too late for him and the Vikings to salvage 2010. Not wanting to pay big money to a fragile player who arguably would never come close to matching his single brilliant season with a Hall of Fame QB, the Vikings let Rice enter free agency.
The receiver would score a five-year/$41 million deal with the Seahawks. Rice would play three years in Seattle, reaching fifty receptions only once, never getting close to 1,000 yards in a year and amassing just 12 total TDs.
He did earn one Super Bowl ring during his tenure in Seattle. That tenure is now coming to an end thanks to concussions. Do the Seahawks think they got a good return for their investment in Rice?
Though it ended on a sour note with Rice in Minnesota, one gets the impression that Viking fans mostly remember him fondly. He was great for that one season. But they made the right move by letting him walk.