Q&A with Sidney Rice
After a breakout year in '09, Sidney Rice missed most of '10 season with hip injury
Rice, who played in six games for Vikings in '10, said the hip is now feeling 'good'
Rice is now a free agent and said he plans to test the market when lockout is lifted
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice was Brett Favre's go-to receiver in 2009 before undergoing hip surgery last year that cut his season short. He is currently unsigned and waiting for the lockout to end.
The South Carolina native spoke with SI.com's Jonathan Jones about the free-agent market, his health and which team has the best uniforms in the league.
SI.com:First off, your South Carolina Gamecocks won their second straight College World Series on Tuesday night. How big of a cheerleader are you for the baseball team?
Rice: I really wasn't a big fan of baseball. I started watching last year when they were in the finals and that's when I started picking up on it.
SI.com: Where are you this offseason and with whom are you working out?
Rice: I'm down in Miami where I usually spend my offseason. I train at a place called Legacy Fit. It's the same place I trained at in '09 before I had my big season (1,312 receiving yards and eight TDs). I really like [my trainer]. He gets it out of you every time. The first time I went I was with Marion Barber. Now he has guys like Tank Johnson. He's got a pretty good group now. I got a couple of my teammates down here, Jamarca Sanford and Tyrell Johnson, and they're going to do a couple of workouts with me this week. It's been going pretty good and I'm feeling good. Just ready to get this lockout over with.
SI.com: How's the hip feeling? Is it giving you any problems?
Rice: Nah I'm feeling good. I'm thankful that the doctors did a good job. My trainers I had throughout the season helped me stay on top of my rehabilitation.
SI.com: In my opinion, the purple Vikings jerseys are the best in the NFL. If you had to choose the top three jerseys in the NFL, what would they be?
Rice: I'm not used to anything but the purple. The purple throwback is my thing, that's my favorite one. I ask for that jersey every year after the season. I've gotten them the last couple of years. I'm kind of a throwback guy, so I like to see that. Chicago has a nice one with the blue and the stripes. I like the Steelers' throwbacks, too.
SI.com: You're currently unsigned. Do you want to stay in Minnesota or are you looking for a new challenge?
Rice: [Staying in Minnesota] is a huge possibility, but I'm still going to test the market and see what else is out there. There are a lot of teams that are interested. I met with coach Leslie Frazier on the day they lifted the lockout and had a pretty good talk with him ... we'll see what happens.
SI.com: With 18 career touchdown receptions, you're only 135 away from tying Terrell Owens. What's your all-time favorite T.O. moment?
Rice: I would probably say the year he was in Philly and he came back from that injury. He broke his ankle and made it back for the Super Bowl. No one expected him to play that many plays, let alone come back, and he played well even though they lost.
SI.com: Is there added pressure now that you're in the same division as the Super Bowl champs?
Rice: None at all. We can't control that. We unfortunately weren't able to make the playoffs last year. We got a chance to change right now. Of course they're our division rivals and everybody's going to be expecting big things from us this year.
SI.com: What do you see out of Christian Ponder and do you think he can be a franchise quarterback?
Rice: Definitely. I feel like they wouldn't have drafted him that high if they didn't think he was capable of starting. As long as he can get the playbook. This is the time where rookies get their training and the playbook so I hope he's able to get that and get started.
SI.com: If you could give your former head coach Steve Spurrier any advice on how to handle troubled QB Stephen Garcia, what would it be?
Rice: I'd just let Spurrier handle that. That's a tough situation and I really don't know what's going on with the whole thing. It seems like he wants to keep Garcia on the team and I feel like he's a good player. Spurrier is a great coach and he's done a good job with that since I've known him and I'm sure he'll figure out the right thing to do.
SI.com: The Metrodome is on its last legs. If any stadium, pro or college, could be transported to Minnesota for the Vikings to play in, what would you want it to be?
Rice: It would be the one that they're talking about building. It looks like a real nice stadium. It's got the retractable roof and new turf. Hopefully they'll get that approved and done.
Raymond's late goal helps Leafs rally, end Kings' win streak
Schwartz, Blues stay hot with win over Oilers