Sidney Rice confirmed in a text message to Chip Scoggins this morning that he had undergone hip surgery at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo. on Monday.
We reported Monday night that the wide receiver had been at the clinic for the past few days and surgery was very likely. In his text, Rice said the procedure had gone well. It's expected he will be sidelined for the first half of the season. Update: Rice, however, said he rode an exercise bike for 20 minutes Monday night after surgery.
Rice also visited Steadman Clinic in June and said his hip "showed significant changes" for the worse when he went back. "He said it was something I could try and work through," Rice said of his initial visit. "That was the plan I tried. I was trying to rehab it. The area just got worse."
There is still no word this morning on whether the Vikings have indeed completed their deal with veteran free agent Javon Walker. (Update: We have been told Walker is in the building.)
In addition to Rice, the Vikings also have concerns about another one of their key receivers, Percy Harvin. Harvin has missed much of camp dealing with migraines and last week collapsed on the field. He could return to practice Tuesday but his availability is a day-to-day thing at this point.
Rice had been on the physically unable to perform list since training camp opened because of a hip injury he said he suffered in the Vikings’ overtime loss to New Orleans last January.
A second-round pick by the Vikings in 2007, Rice had a breakout performance last season with Brett Favre as his quarterback. The 6-4, 202-pound receiver caught a team-leading 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns and was named to the Pro Bowl. Rice added 10 receptions for 184 yards and four touchdowns in the playoffs.
Rice and the Vikings have not divulged exactly what was wrong with his hip, but he did say during training camp that the issue impacted his ability to cut and get in and out of breaks. The issue could have been taken care of this offseason but Rice elected not to have surgery, despite the fact that two of three specialists he saw suggested that might be the best idea.
The fact Rice was dealing with a hip problem was revealed publicly in early July when Rosenhaus, who also is Rice’s agent, put the information on Twitter. Rice had taken part in portions of the Vikings minicamp, but it turned out he saw the final specialist after that.
The fact Rice elected to have the surgery is not a complete shock given how his progress had gone in recent days. Early in camp, Rice had said he would be ready for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener at New Orleans but last Friday he admitted he wasn’t sure if that would be the case.
Rice told reporters he felt "a little bit of pain" when he goes full speed. "I actually went pretty hard today," he said on Friday. "... I came in and got a couple of routes with my coach [George Stewart] after practice. Just going to see how it reacts to that."
There has been a belief throughout camp that Rice also was not rushing back because he was unhappy with a rookie contract that is due to pay him $550,000 in its final season. The Vikings and Rice were not believed to have had any discussions about an extension this summer and that could have caused him to not want to take any risks by playing without first having surgery.
With Rice out and the uncertainty surrounding Harvin, the Vikings’ clear-cut top receiver is Bernard Berrian. Berrian dealt with hamstring injuries last season but has been healthy this summer. Berrian led the NFL by averaging 20.1 yards per catch in 2008, his first season with the Vikings. Veteran Greg Lewis, who had eight receptions last season, and first-year player Logan Payne, a former Gopher, also appear to be prime candidates to stick.
Other receivers on the Vikings’ 80-man roster include Taye Biddle (second year in NFL); Freddie Brown (first year); Marquis Hamilton (rookie); Marko Mitchell (second year); and Ray Small (rookie). Jaymar Johnson, who had been getting work with the first team and would have had a big oppotunity to contribute, has been placed on season-ending injured reserve after suffering a broken thumb in the preseason opener at St. Louis.