Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice has said a number of times that his work with Cardinals All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald and former Viking Cris Carter in the Twin Cities last summer helped propel him to his first Pro Bowl.
Carter gave Rice some tough love during Fitzgerald's summer workouts for NFL players and Rice took those words to heart and improved his work ethic.
Rice said he would follow a similar plan this summer and workout with Fitzgerald/Carter again, but so far he has not made an appearance at the camp held at the University of Minnesota. That brought an interesting response from Carter after Thursday's workout when asked what is the challenge for Rice this season coming off his first Pro Bowl year.
"I don’t know," Carter said. "You have to ask him. I don’t know what it’s like to have one good year and then disappear. I don’t know what it’s like. That’s on him. I really don’t know. … If I had that kind of impact on him he should have been here today."
Carter's response prompted another media member to ask if he is mad that Rice has not returned to workout with the group.
"I don’t look mad do I?" he said. "I don’t get mad about kids coming or not coming. Larry is the only one who invited me. Larry is the only one but some people in Kansas City as far as their administration kind of knew I was going to be here. We kind of let them know that I would be here for [receiver Dwayne] Bowe. But I’m here for Larry. Everybody else is just getting the benefit of our relationship. But Sidney is not here so I guarantee he’s not getting no better today."
Bowe made his first appearance at the camp on Thursday and he received some tough love from Carter and Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin. Bowe, who said he took 12 days off from workouts, struggled with his conditioning as the players ran 14 100-yard sprints and then four 50-yard runs.
"Can you imagine your first day coming back to 14 100s?" Bowe said. "Man, it was like college again. I’ve never done this intensive competing, conditioning and technique in one day."
Bowe said he is casual friends with Fitzgerald but he accepted his invitation to join because of the good things he's heard from other players, including Rice. He also wanted an opportunity to get one-on-one instruction from Carter and Irvin.
"You can tell [the potential impact] by the production that Sidney Rice had last year," Bowe said. "I know he had Brett Favre but still. I talked to him a week ago and he told me they competed and it made him [better] and he went to the Pro Bowl. Now I think it’s my turn to take over."