With all the drama and anger hovering over the Vikings with the departure of Randy Moss, the team did get some positive news on Wednesday.

Pro Bowl wide receiver Sidney Rice returned to practice for the first time all season after recovering from hip surgery. Rice's return starts a three-week window in which the Vikings must activate him to the 53-man roster or place him on season-ending injured reserve. He can be activated at any time in that three-week span.

Rice showed no obvious problems during the individual period that media was allowed to watch. He ran routes full speed and was doing a lot of cutting and stops and starts. Simply put, he didn't look like a guy who hasn't practiced at all this season.

I'm not saying that means Rice will be able to play Sunday against Arizona, but his return seems close.

Rice opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list and then had hip surgery during the preseason. His absence caused a ripple effect that ultimately led the team to trade for Randy Moss.

But with Moss now gone, the Vikings need Rice to bring that big-play threat like he did last season.