The Sidney Rice Effect
As some of you may know, Sidney Rice was the special “guest” at the beginning of the Vikings Cardinals game last week. He blew the horn stating the “Vikings are coming” before all the rest of the team stormed out of their Vikings Ship. While I fully believe this was a ploy to get fans excited about the near return of their top wide out after the sudden waiving of stand out Wide Receiver Randy Moss at the beginning of the week. Moss aside, the real question is “what effect will Rice have?”. I believe Rice will give the Vikings a second wind and could be the “it” factor for finishing the season strong.
Sidney Rice commands respect while he is on the field. Last year he undoubtedly made fools of defensive coordinators down playing his capabilities. As long as Rice is in the game it’s a pick your poison battle for all opponents. Stack nine players in the box to stop Adrian Peterson or double team one of the most exciting young players in the league. Scary to say but getting Rice back on the field may allow us to continue with the game plan originally designed for when Randy Moss was on the team. No doubt the return of Rice will also benefit pass catchers Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe as well.
What issues still hamper this team? Offensive line play is one of the big issues to be addressed. The Vikings O-line has been very shaky and inconsistent play is downright killing this team. From our pro-bowl left tackle Bryant McKinnie playing erratically to our second year young right tackle Phil Loadholt whom seems to have a false starting issue this season. The talent is there but the motivation seems to be lacking. Hopefully the win against the Cardinals will help put a spring into the step of all the offensive lineman this week. McKinnie especially needs to step up, we absolutely cannot have him man handled by Julius Peppers like last year against the Panthers.
Defense – Pressure seems to be the number one issue this season. Why can’t the d-line get more pressure on the QB? Double teaming Jared Allen and Kevin Williams is a must by all opponents but that really should open up the possibilities for Pat Williams and Ray Edwards. It’s no secret that Ray Edwards is not happy with his contract situation but I truly hope that’s not the reason for being ineffective. I don’t blame any particular player on the defense but something just hasn’t been clicking this season. Many people speculate that the defense is getting old but I don’t believe that’s the issue. If anything it’s a cudos to the offensive line coaching from our competition. We were fortunate enough to see the Vikings defense kick it into gear that last half of the 4th quarter last week. Hopefully this is something we will see a lot more of this week at the Chicago Bears.
If Sidney Rice comes back, the o-line is more consistent, and the defense continues with their spectacular end of the game finish against the Cardinals… I don’t see how the Vikings lose this game to the Bears.