Vikings: Rice Nice
Images courtesy of Wiki
When you're playing on a team alongside Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Steve Hutchinson, Kevin Williams and Antoine Winfield -- it's easy to get lost in the Purple. Hell, even with his 176 receiving yards and crucial late-game snare in the Vikings' 33-31 win over Baltimore, Sidney may not have even been the most celebrated "Rice" on the field on Sunday, given the 194 combined yards and two TD's collected by the Ravens' Ray Rice.
In the history of the NFL & AFL, just two men donning the Rice surname have graced the wide receiver position. The latter, of course, is our boy Sidney -- Care to take a stab at the former?
Heading into Week 7 of the NFL season, Sid comes up just 21,949 career receiving yards shy of the luminary Jerry, but employing baby steps finds #18 briskly becoming one of the NFC's most lauded wideouts. Through just four games this season, Sid Rice had already surpassed his receiving yardage total accrued in his entire 2008 season (13 games); through Week 5, Rice eclipsed last year's reception total; through Sunday for the 6-0 Vikings, his 409 receiving yards already established a career high for the third-year wideout.
That impressive 409 -- while largely buoyed by his Sunday 176 -- currently ranks second in the NFC; further accolade can be found in Rice's yards per catch (17.8) and receptions of 20 or more yards (5), also among the Conference's top-10. While fellow receiver Bernard Berrian remains both the team's highest-paid ($43.4 million) and most targeted wideout (38 passes thrown his way) -- it's the lanky Rice that appears to be Favre's latest pet project.
While Favre has undoubtedly been supplied with his share of receiving talent over the years in the respective forms of Sterling Sharpe, Javon Walker, and Donald Driver (not to mention his brief stints with Terry Glenn and Greg Jennings), it's Favre's rapport with Rice-like resumes that have so often cemented the quarterback's legend.
Take Packer fellas like Robert Brooks, Antonio Freeman, Bill Schroeder, Robert Ferguson, Antonio Chatman and last year in New York with Jerricho Cotchery: None of these guys would be considered "stars" in the span of their respective NFL careers -- however all shone bright beside Brett.
None of these wideouts rank in the top-120 in all-time receptions, however they collectively claim well over 1,000 grabs via Favre, matched with over 15,000 receiving yards and more than 100 touchdowns. Brooks and Freeman both had multiple 1,000-yard seasons lining up with Favre, and those two along with Schroeder all had multiple 60+ catch campaigns.
As with most if not all of his previous 19 seasons, Favre's greatest tenet (late-game drama aside) may be his ability to spread the wealth. Entering our ensuing matchup with Pittsburgh, the nascent 40-year-old has already distributed the ball to 11 different receivers (himself included). For an undefeated team -- there are always enough balls to go' round. But if the year's first six games are an indicator, steamed Rice may prove Favre's best order of the season.
Please check back later in the week for a Vikings @ Steelers game preview. Until then:
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