Vikings, happy with Rice's health, offer him contract

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 26, 2011 - 12:51 AM
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Sidney Rice

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Vikings have extended a contract offer to Sidney Rice and don't have any major concerns about the wide receiver's surgically repaired hip, according to coach Leslie Frazier.

"Our medical staff has assured us that he's going to be fine and he's going to be able to play and be productive for years to come, and that's how we've approached it," Frazier said Friday at the NFL scouting combine. "That's one of the reasons that we extended him a contract and conversation about getting him a contract. So, we feel good about Sidney."

Rice potentially could become an unrestricted free agent depending on what happens with the collective bargaining agreement. However, there also is a chance that Rice's four years of service would make him a restricted free agent. It's unclear what the Vikings offer entailed, and agent Drew Rosenhaus declined to comment on his client's contract situation Friday.

The Vikings placed their franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway instead of Rice this week.

Asked about that decision, Frazier said: "Sidney is an outstanding player, as you guys know. He's done a great job for us. But we really felt like where Chad is right now in his career and what he's been able to do and standing on the field and just getting better every single year and what he's done off the field in our community as well, the whole package -- that was the way to go.

"That doesn't mean that we don't want Sidney as a Minnesota Viking, because we do. He is a high, high priority, and I didn't want him to be sensitive about the fact that it was Chad being franchised instead of Sidney. That does not mean that we're not going to do right by Sidney, but we couldn't franchise both of them. We want to get Sidney signed and take care of him, because he's going to take care of our football team."

Frazier said he had a "great conversation" with Rice recently and that "he wants to be a Viking and I hope we can get things worked out."

Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman reported Friday that close friends of Rice claim the surgery he had on his hip last summer didn't cure the problem and that he is dealing with arthritis. Hartman also recently reported that Rice underwent a procedure for a kidney problem before last season.

"We don't have any medical questions regarding Sidney at this point," Frazier said. 'Our doctors have cleared him. They've made it clear to us, 'Don't hold back in whatever you want to do to try to get him signed,' and that's how we're approaching it."

Etc.

• Wide receiver Jaymar Johnson, who would have been an exclusive rights free agent, has been re-signed to a one-year, $405,000 deal by the Vikings. Johnson spent last season on injured reserve after suffering a broken left thumb in the preseason opener.

• Frazier was asked about the conversation he had with Everson Griffen this month after the defensive end was arrested twice in the same weekend in Los Angeles. "I had to just talk about a few things and just remind him what was important to us and as an organization and football team," Frazier said. "[I've] got my fingers crossed and hopefully won't see his name in the newspapers other than for what happens this fall when he gets a sack, an interception or a fumble recovery or something like that."

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