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Updated: August 16th, 2010 2:58pm
Notebook: Sidney Rice takes another step, but still not close to returning

Notebook: Sidney Rice takes another step, but still not close to returning

by Tom Pelissero
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings got one of their starting receivers back on Monday, when Percy Harvin ended his 16-day absence.

The other took another step in the right direction, but it appears it will be at least another week or two before Sidney Rice returns to practice.

Rice did some cutting on the side during Monday's abbreviated practice at Winter Park -- the first time he's been spotted doing anything other than straight-line work while battling an undisclosed hip injury -- and reported no significant issues.

"The straight-line is not bad at all," Rice said. "Most of the time, it's cutting, bending, coming in and out of breaks (that hurts). It felt pretty good. I've just got to see how my body reacts to it."

Coach Brad Childress already has ruled out Rice for Sunday's second preseason game at San Francisco, however, and indicated there's still a long road ahead for his No. 1 receiver.

"He's got to be able to do football-specific movements," Childress said. "Right now, he's just gone from the striding and kind of building a cardio base to the stopping-and-starting stuff. He's got to do way more."

Rice first injured the hip during January's playoffs and has indicated it acted up again during June's minicamp. Multiple doctors recommended surgery but didn't deem it necessary, and Rice decided to forego the procedure.

He said on Monday he's had a "couple of setbacks, but overall, it's getting better."

That he still isn't running at full speed and only now -- 24 days before the Sept. 9 regular-season opener at New Orleans -- is even attempting lateral movement makes it questionable whether he'll take a preseason snap.

"I want to be out there on the field with my teammates," Rice said, "but at the same time, I want to be healthy when the time comes around and really I need to be out there on the field."

Favre update

Childress was typically coy when asked about Brett Favre's status, saying there's been no "recent contact" with his still-mulling quarterback.

Asked whether he knows if Favre is coming back, Childress said, "Is that a follow-up? ... Not recent contact."

Childress also laughed off a report the team was interested in veteran quarterback Jeff Garcia if Favre didn't return. The report cited a quote from Garcia's father indicating the Vikings had inquired before Garcia signed with the UFL's Omaha Nighthawks.

"Anybody can say anything now and get it front of people," Childress said. "My answer is no. No. No interest."

Griffin progressing

This couldn't be predicted at the start of camp -- cornerback Cedric Griffin might come of the active/physically unable to perform list before Rice.

"He's coming along rapidly, to the point where you have to weigh, do you take him off the PUP so he can get into individual drills?" Childress said of Griffin, who is coming off knee reconstruction.

"Because he can't do that right now when he's in the PUP. You see him working with Joe (Woods, the defensive backs coach) after practice, which is what the rule allows."

Griffin's post-practice workout on Monday was extensive, including catching balls on the move and hitting the tackling dummies.

"He's coming pretty quick," Childress said. "Kind of champing at the bit."

Health watch

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (shoulder strain) and backup linebacker J Leman (turf toe) practiced after sitting out Saturday's preseason opener, while center John Sullivan (calf) remained sidelined.

Receiver Greg Lewis, who went down awkwardly on his final play Saturday, also was on the field.

Receiver Jaymar Johnson sat out practice with an undisclosed injury. It appeared his left hand or wrist was wrapped.

Quick hits

• Monday's practice lasted only an hour and featured all scout work for Sunday. Players also were scheduled for extended film sessions to catch up from last week.

• Childress said starters will play about a quarter on Sunday, depending on the game flow. RB Adrian Peterson, who didn't play at St. Louis, is slated to get some work against the 49ers. "I've got an idea about how many (touches) he needs to have," Childress said. "I think maybe he touched it 18 times last year (in the preseason), in or around there, give or take 10."

• LB Erin Henderson was one of Saturday's standouts, both at his usual outside spot and a turn as middle linebacker. "He did a job at the mike, surprisingly," Childress said. "Did a great job. He looked like he knew what he was doing. There's a lot of people coming at you in there. But I thought he played our defense right, and you just have to learn how to play extended snaps in there."

• Childress downplayed RB Albert Young's lack of production in Saturday's game: "I don't think we did a great job of changing the line of scrimmage, which you have to do to be effective in the run game. There wasn't a hell of a lot there to be gained." Young rushed six times for minus-7 yards.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 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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