The Vikings transferred Sidney Rice from the active/physically unable to perform list Tuesday to the inactive/PUP, meaing the Pro Bowl wide receiver will miss at least the first six weeks of the regular season and possibly more after having surgery on his hip last week in Vail, Colo.
The move did not come as a surprise as Rice is expected to be out for the first half of the season. The difference in how the designations work is that by being on the active/PUP Rice counted against the 80-man roster and could have been activated at any time. Being on the reserve/PUP means Rice has to sit out the first six weeks.
At that point, the Vikings will have another three weeks to make a decision on whether to activate Rice or place him on season-ending injured reserve. Tuesday's move was important because it means Rice no longer counts against the active roster, which had to be cut to 75 players by 3 p.m.
To get to the limit, the Vikings waived offensive tackle Bill Noethlich (Southwest Minnesota State) and wide receiver Marko Mitchell (Nevada), who bounced from Washington to Detroit to the Vikings during the offseason. Linebacker J Leman was waived/injured by the Vikings on Monday and was not claimed. He is currently on the injured reserve list and can either be kept there or the Vikings can reach an injury settlement with him.
Leman missed the majority of training camp because of turf toe.
The next round of cuts will come Saturday -- and be way more difficult -- as the Vikings will have to get to the regular-season roster limit of 53 players by 5 p.m.
Update/correction: I have to admit these PUP rules are a bit confusing and I goofed in the above post about what Rice's placement on the reserve/PUP means. Here is the rule. "After Week 6 (whether a team has had a bye or not), a 21-day period begins where a player can begin practicing. He can start practicing at any point during those 21 days. Once that starts, a 21-day practice period begins. The player could be activated at any time within those 21 days. At the end of the 21 days, the team must either activate the player, release the player or keep him on reserve/PUP for the remainder of the season."
What does it mean: The Vikings will have three weeks after Week 6 to decide whether Rice is able to practice. Once he's cleared to practice, the team will have another three weeks either to activate him or keep him on reserve/PUP for the rest of the year. The first game Rice could play in given the entire timetable is used would be Dec. 5 against Buffalo.