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Updated: October 13th, 2010 6:24pm
Notebook: Rice increases rehab workload; Moss tries to get up to speed

Notebook: Rice increases rehab workload; Moss tries to get up to speed

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Sidney Rice finally is walking without crutches again, but the timetable for his return to football activities remains unclear.

It won't be on Tuesday, when the Minnesota Vikings' Pro Bowl receiver is eligible for activation from the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

"Just continuing to take it slow right now and make sure everything's all right," Rice said on Wednesday.

Rice on Monday visited with Dr. Marc Philippon, who performed the receiver's hip surgery on Aug. 23 at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo. An X-ray and MRI revealed no issues, Rice said, and he ditched the crutches as soon as he got back to Minnesota.

"Everything's been feeling good," Rice said. "It hasn't been giving me any problems. I've been walking around and walking on the treadmill, things like that, putting my full body weight on it."

There's a big difference between walking and playing NFL football, though, and Rice said he'll know more soon -- "maybe sometime this week" -- about his timetable.

The Vikings have until Nov. 9 to activate Rice without him counting against the 53-man roster. Once that happens, they'll have an additional three-week exemption to evaluate him and decide whether to put him on the 53 or move him to injured reserve.

Coach Brad Childress joked the Rice "was in some very rigorous rehab" playing tennis on a Nintendo Wii video-game system from a stationary position.

Asked if it's safe to say Rice isn't in the team's short-range plan, Childress said, "Yeah, when we start equating Wii-reps with football reps then I'll know the Apocalypse is on us."

Where to?

Randy Moss said he's been spending an extra hour each day at Vikings headquarters with receivers coach George Stewart and bringing his playbook home at night, too.

"Sometimes, you lose your mental focus, and sometimes, I might break the huddle -- 'OK, what did he just call?' -- and that happens," said Moss, who arrived in a trade from New England a week ago.

"But as far as 80 to 90 percent of the time that I'm in there, I want to know what I'm doing. (Monday) night, they put me in in the 2-minute and I heard a play and I really didn't know what I was doing. So, I was taught when it doubt, just run a go, and that's what I did."

Moss played 53 snaps in Monday's loss to the Jets and caught four of 10 balls thrown his way for 81 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown.

He said his familiarity with the playbook is "about the same," but he's determined to be more prepared when he makes his return to the Metrodome, where he hasn't played a regular-season game since the Vikings traded him to Oakland in March 2005.

"I was kind of bitter the way things ended," Moss said. "But at the same time, you let bygones be bygones, you forgive but never forget. So, hopefully, whatever I've supposedly done here to get me thrown out of the state of Minnesota, hopefully, the people can forgive me. But I've forgiven the people, the organization for just kicking me to the curb, and hopefully, I'm back here to make up for it."

Cooper's chance

Two days after replacing Ryan Cook at halftime against the Jets, Jon Cooper took the first-team reps at center while John Sullivan continued to sit out with a calf injury.

"It feels good," said Cooper, an undrafted free agent last year who is in line for his first NFL start on Sunday against Dallas.

"That's what you wait for as a player, is to get your chance. I've been waiting for and I'm glad I got to play, and hopefully, I'll take advantage of my opportunity."

Childress reiterated failed protection adjustments -- including one that led to a first-quarter sack -- led to the halftime switch. However, Cook said he hasn't gotten an explanation for his benching or where he now stands on the depth chart.

"I don't know," Cook said. 'I have no idea. I wish I had answers for you."

Walker arrives

Less than 24 hours after completing a workout with the New Orleans Saints, veteran cornerback Frank Walker worked out for the Vikings, passed a physical and was in uniform for afternoon practice.

Walker, 29, also worked out for Miami, Indianapolis and Tennessee while trying to land a job after the Baltimore Ravens decided not the bring him back. He said he prefers to play outside, where he'd most likely see any action on defense if the Vikings continue using Antoine Winfield in the slot in nickel.

"It's not really that hard," Walker said of joining the team midseason. "It's going to be a defense -- you just learn it. You just go from what you know basically."

Quick hits

• Childress said CB Cedric Griffin, who on Monday blew out a knee for the second time in less than nine months, was in the training room working on range of motion Wednesday morning. "There may be a 24-hour period, and I don't even know if there was a wallowing period," Childress said. "The only good perspective he has is that he knows what the work is in front of him because was just through it with his left leg."

• WR Bernard Berrian, who played a season-low 13 snaps on Monday, said he hasn't been informed of what role he's expected to play going forward. "I'm never going to be all right when your roles diminish or whatever," Berrian said. "No player that's a competitor is going to be all right with that."

• Rice reiterated he was excited about the Moss trade and disagreed with the notion it allows him not to push as hard to expedite his return. "Nah, that means when I do get back that teams are going to have some trouble," Rice said. "I'm not going to put everything all on Randy's shoulders. ... When everybody gets on the same page, it's going to be interesting to see how things will go then."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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