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Updated: September 13th, 2010 2:59pm
Notebook: Sidney Rice remains on crutches, hasn't targeted return date

Notebook: Sidney Rice remains on crutches, hasn't targeted return date

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Sidney Rice expects to remain on crutches for a couple more weeks, and the Minnesota Vikings' top receiver said on Monday he hasn't set a target date for returning to practice following last month's hip surgery.

"I can't play until after six games, so I at least know it'll be at least that long," said Rice, who is on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

"Right now it's just focused on getting ahead every morning, doing my rehab and doing what it takes to get back there out on the field."

Rice had surgery on Aug. 23 to repair an injury he has said occurred in January's NFC championship game. Three weeks later, he's doing pool-based rehabilitation and can walk without the crutches, but doctors have advised him to keep weight off the hip as much as possible.

"No soreness at all," Rice said. "I can move my leg and everything like that. It's just staying on (crutches) for a little while to keep the pressure off of it and letting everything heal up on the inside. I'll be on these for a couple of more weeks, and hopefully, after that, as soon as my muscles can start back to firing, I'll be back out there on the field."

Because he's on reserve/PUP, Rice can return to practice no sooner than Oct. 19 and no later than Nov. 9. Once he does return, the Vikings will have three weeks to activate him or move him to injured reserve.

Without Rice, the Vikings' four receivers combined for only four catches in Thursday's season-opening loss to New Orleans. Rice watched from home with friends.

"It's tough. It's real tough," Rice said. "I want to be back out there with my teammates. It's a great group of guys, and I feel like I could have helped them out a little bit out there."

No rush for receivers

Coach Brad Childress confirmed the Vikings are bringing in four free-agent receivers -- Reggie Brown, Ruvell Martin, Sam Aiken and Demetrius Williams -- for workouts on Tuesday but downplayed the possibility the Vikings will sign any of them.

"What it does is gives us a mind's-eye picture of what those guys look like, should we require somebody down the road," Childress said, adding that players other positions may be in for a workout as well.

Asked if he'd be comfortable moving forward with the same four receivers for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, Childress said, "I'm completely comfortable."

Childress has familiarity with Brown, who was a Philadelphia rookie in 2005 when Childress was the Eagles' offensive coordinator. Childress described Brown as "a good young man" but admitted he'll "have to refresh my memory with what I see" from the veteran.

Martin also has experience in the West Coast offense, having played in Green Bay with Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.

"It can be an advantage," Childress said. "But I think we really are looking at what kind of hops they have and how they're catching the ball, how they get in and out of breaks -- those kind of things. If we've got to get a guy and get him up to speed, our coaches have done a good job of that, of embracing the guy that has more ability, and it's always our job to get ability in front of experience."

Teaching point

Childress spent part of his day off Sunday watching other NFL games, including the Chicago-Detroit tilt that ended with Calvin Johnson's nullified catch in the end zone.

"It's a great lesson on what could have been a spectacular play if he had just caught it and tucked it," Childress said.

With 25 seconds left and the Lions trailing 19-14, Johnson elevated over Chicago's Zackary Bowman and came down with what appeared to be -- and was initially ruled -- a go-ahead, 25-yard touchdown.

However, another official overruled the call because Johnson dropped the ball as he appeared to be pushing himself off the ground, and the call stood after review.

"If you go to the ground, you have to come up with the football. Period," Childress said. "They don't couch it in any way, shape or form. If you go to the ground, even if you stumble and go to the ground, you've got to come up with the football."

Quick hits

• Cut by the Vikings on Sept. 4, kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd posted on Twitter that he was boarding a plane to Charlotte, N.C., where he was believed to be scheduled for a workout with his old team, the Carolina Panthers. Lloyd's replacement in Carolina, Todd Carter, suffered a back injury on Sunday, making it likely the Panthers will re-sign Lloyd if the workout goes well.

• Asked how SS Tyrell Johnson lost his starting job, Childress said Husain Abdullah simply "had a better overall camp and a better overall preseason than Tyrell, at least in our estimation. ... Whether it's coverage, blitzing, adjustments, playing by the line of scrimmage, playing man-to-man -- it's really the whole body of things. We feel (Abdullah) gave us the best chance to win, so he started back there."

• The Vikings will wear throwback uniforms on Sunday for the home opener of their 50th season.

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.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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