Sidney Rice refused to speak to local reporters on Friday in the Vikings locker room, but the wide receiver told ESPN's Ed Werder that he will make his 2010 debut on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
If Rice doesn't follow through, however, his season likely will be finished before it ever started. Coach Brad Childress said Friday that if Rice doesn't play Sunday, he expects the wide receiver won't be removed from the physically unable to perform [PUP] list by Wednesday's deadline. Rice underwent hip surgery in late August.
Rice must be activated to the 53-man roster by 3 p.m. Saturday in order to be eligible to play against Green Bay. "He's not going to do any more between now and Tuesday [if he doesn't play]," Childress said. "So we're either putting him up for Sunday or putting him down on Tuesday. It's not like it's going to all of a sudden ..."
Rice, the Vikings' leading receiver last season, confirmed he understood the plan Childress laid out but other than that declined three interview requests in the locker room Friday .
Activating Rice would make sense given the Vikings are carrying 52 players on their roster. That is one below the limit. The Vikings have been at 52 since Rice began practicing and Randy Moss was placed on waivers in early November.
Childress made it clear Thursday that roster spot is being held open for Rice.
Rice started to practice on Nov. 3, opening a three-week window for him to be brought off the PUP or left on it for the rest of the season. That window will close on Wednesday.
Asked about Rice's level of soreness, Childress said: "[It's] not as bad as last week is what he told me. We'll see how he does tomorrow. We'll wait until tomorrow [to make a decision]."
Berrian listed as questionable
Wide receiver Bernard Berrian was limited in practice for a second consecutive day and is listed as questionable on the Vikings' injury report. Berrian was active last week because he didn't know he would be unable to play until after the inactive list had been turned in 90 minutes before the game.
This cost the Vikings a valuable roster spot. Childress said Berrian did more at practice Friday than he did Thursday but said that in order for him to play on Sunday "he'll have to be able to run full speed."
"He'll have to be able to run a go route," Childress said. "There's no other way you can say it. We'll have to see him do that [on Sunday]."
Berrian will go out for an early workout at Mall of America Field with wide receivers coach George Stewart and the athletic training staff.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Percy Harvin (ankle) is listed as probable. "I think [the ankle is] just going to be something that continues to twinge on him every now and then," Childress said. "That's the way ankles typically are. Whether he gets kicked or rolls it. But he practiced more this week, which is a good thing and had a good week."
The only player declared out for the Vikings is safety Eric Frampton, who suffered a hamstring injury last Sunday at Chicago. Frampton is a key member of the special teams.
Also questionable for the Vikings are center John Sullivan (calf) and right guard Anthony Herrera (elbow). Quarterback Brett Favre (ankle, foot), cornerbacks Asher Allen (concussion) and Chris Cook (knee) and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) are probable. Sanford's return after a one-game absence will help on special teams.
Childress confirmed he has gotten a "preliminary call" from someone representing the University of Colorado regarding Vikings running backs coach Eric Bieniemy. The school is looking for a replacement for football coach Dan Hawkins and Bieniemy was a one-time star running back for Colorado.
"They go about it kind of circuitously," Childress said of the process. "They hire whatever head-hunter firms that they call and vet him a little bit. I can't even remember the guy I talked to."
The school does not need the Vikings permission to speak to Bieniemy but rather wanted to get Childress' thoughts on his assistant. "They're trying to do their preliminary homework on who he is and what he's about and that type of thing," Childress said. Childress does not know if this means Bieniemy will interview. "[I] can't tell," he said. "Typically those firms get a list of guys and shake it through a sieve and present them to the athletic director or the committee or however ... I don't want their hiring procedure is there."
Childress promoted Bieniemy to assistant head coach for the offense just before training camp after Southern Cal pursued him to become its offensive coordinator.
"I do think highly of him," Childress said. "I think he could be a coordinator in this league and I think before it's over that he could probably be a head coach in this league. I know what his recruiting skills are like. He's an excellent recruiter, excellent people person, great, great teacher of offensive football. We hate to lose him but certainly if he has that opportunity it would be hard to hold him back."
No word on the future
Childress said that while he has been talking with owner Zygi Wilf there has been no discussion of he coach's future employment. "We've talked but we haven't talked about that," Childress said. "I wouldn't portray any of those conversations in that vein."
Packers injury report
Wide receiver Donald Driver (quadriceps), fullback Korey Hall (back) and defensive lineman Ryan Pickett (ankle) are listed as questionable for the Packers. Green Bay, coming off the bye week, has eight players listed as probably on its injury report.
That list includes linebackers Desmond Bishop (hip), Brandon Chillar (shoulder) and Clay Matthews (shin), left tackle Chad Clifton (knee), cornerbacks Charles Woodson (toe) and Pat Lee (ankle), tight end Andrew Quarless (shoulder) and center Scott Wells (arch).