If everything goes according to plan, an agreement between players and owners ‘in principle’ should be reached by this Wednesday at the latest, meaning roughly 500 or so four year and above free agents—like Sidney Rice— will be allowed to test the waters, and teams—like the Minnesota Vikings—will be allowed to pursue them.
But for Vikings fans, getting a solid read and grip on who is going to play for this team seems to be paramount to the storyline(s) surrounding Sidney Rice.
50% of you believe it doesn’t matter if Rice stays or goes, so long as the Vikings address the situation now, instead of dragging it out.
The other half of you feel he should stay if the team can offer something long-term, and are sure he is as healthy as he claims.
Lets take a quick look at possible scenarios we could see with Sidney Rice before everyone reports to camp later this month
Sidney Rice to Seattle? One of the newest teams to surface as a possible suitor for Rice is the Seattle Seahawks if you can believe that. Now, according to John Clayton of ESPN 710 Seattle, he states that he “just doesn’t seem them doing that” (pursuing Rice) going on to say “they have other needs”.
The assumption is pretty dead on, the Seahwaks do have other pressing needs, but don’t rule out the need for a true WR 1 to be the primary play maker and down field threat.
In the end, though, if the Seahawks can’t afford to keep Matt Hasselbeck, they could go after another free agent such as Carson Palmer and comfortably stick with the receivers they have, which seems more than likely.
The Rams would be a better team if they could keep Mark Clayton and Donnie Avery healthy, but even then they wold need a true outside speedster who would spread the defenses better, disallowing them to stack the line against Steve Jackson as they’ve been doing for a few years now.
What’s even more interesting is the fact that even if the Rams needed to spend $10 million or so to get Rice, it wouldn’t be that far fetched of an idea, but the Rams are also in dyer need of some quality outside linebackers, and a true elite player at safety.
It is not out of the question for the Rams to make an offer, but I believe the Rams will target other areas in hopes of solving for “X” on the defensive side of the ball first.
But it will be the teams that are in significant need for a true WR 1 or 2 that will be the strongest suitors.
San Diego, Oakland and Kansas City will all be in need of a true play-making outside threat, but in varying ways.
- San Diego is facing the majority of their receivers to hit the open market, and may be forced to entertain adding someone like Rice unless they can find a cheaper alternative with similar skill sets, which is also possible, since most players—the smart ones anyway— will doing whatever they can to score a secure two-year deal from whomever offers
- Oakland enters this season as a dark horse contender in the division, but their receivers are suspect at best. The Raiders will do the right thing by getting Jacoby Ford more in the mix, but can they get better production out of Murphy, keep Schilens healthy and get anything out of Heyward-Bey? it’s not out of the question for the Raiders to pursue Rice, but they may not be all that interested in another health liability.
- Kansas City could be the one team that does make a pitch, if they are to expect themselves to keep up in the division. Oakland is rising up, San Diego is still a viable threat, and Denver is still capable of making some noise which means the Chiefs—a team that has zero quality receivers outside of Dwayne Bowe and TE Tony Moeaki—are in serious need of a true compliment to Bowe on the other side of the field.
I only see the chiefs being the strongest possibility out of this bunch here, and even that is a bit of a stretch.
One cannot rule out the strong possibility of Rice simply going nowhere and staying—for the long-term or short—in the Twin cities.
The Vikings have already expressed the desire to not only keep Rice, but do whatever it would take—including the possibility of the franchise tag— to lock him up after the CBA talks.
The new offense which is slated to “run through” Adrian Peterson is set to deploy more double tight end sets, which requires a true outside play-maker to keep defenses from matching up on the outside; a job Rice does excel at.
Rice may be reaching for the stars in terms of a bloated multi-year deal simply because of that hip injury. This could force him to hammer out a deal with the Vikings (a transitional tag would be useful here, but I haven’t heard any word about the possibility).
If I had to guess, I would speculate that Rice stays home. While there are more teams that have been said to be eying him up, the fact remains that there is a boat load of talented receivers who could test the market that are less of a liability than Rice and just as capable as he is. MSW, Malcolm Floyd, Steve Smith (both of them), Braylon Edwards, Santana Moss and Vincent Jackson are just SOME of the names Rice will have to compete with.
And let’s remember one other aspect here. The Vikings could be cooking something up themselves; something that would not only keep Rice in town, but also ADD another quality WR free agent to the outside which could offer more incentive for Rice to stay.
Stay tuned for additional information as I come across it. Until then, take a look at why a New Vikings Stadium Makes Perfect Sense.