Vikings WR Sidney Rice's Contract May Be Affecting His Return From Hip Injury

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice is on the "PUP" list with a hip injury. Despite the secrecy of the injury, no one denies that Rice is injured, and surgery has even been mentioned as a possibility.

The situation is so vague, though, Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune reports that there's a growing feeling that Rice's contract situation is affecting his return.

Rice is coming off a breakout season, catching 83 passes for 1,312 yards and 8 touchdowns, and is slated to make $550,000 in the final year of a four-year, $3.7 million contract that was negotiated by Rice's former agent, not Drew Rosenhaus, Rice's current agent.

From Zulgad:

"The Rice camp sees this as evidence that he will be grossly underpaid in 2010, and they have a point based upon last year's production. However, the Vikings will point to the fact Rice needs to prove himself for more than one season. Then there is the issue of the league's collective bargaining agreement, which is set to expire after this season."

Factoring in how Rice's hip injury came to light-a tweet from Rosenhaus last month--one could theorize that Rice is safeguarding his future by staying on the PUP list, where he can comply with the 30-day rule while avoiding a potential contract-threatening injury outside of the regular season.

Considering that it's August 10 and Ed Werder has gotten more face time with the Vikings starting quarterback than Brad Childress has, why should Rice be in any rush to participate in 7-on-7 drills in Mankato?

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