In my story today, after an injury-plagued 2011 season, the Seattle Seahawks finally are getting the Sidney Rice they expected after inking him to a five-year, $41 million deal last year. Rice leads the team with 28 receptions for 367 yards and three touchdowns.
He’ll face his former team in Minnesota on Sunday. Rice played his first four seasons for the Vikings, including his Pro Bowl year in 2009, when he led the Vikings with 83 receptions for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns during Minnesota’s run to the NFC Championship Game.
“I definitely feel like I have a slight edge on everybody else, going with those guys for so many years,” Rice said. “Antoine Winfield, probably their best corner, is a guy I played against my entire four years there. He’s really smart and talented, and probably one of the toughest small guys I’ve ever seen in my life.
“So on our offensive side as receivers we have to be prepared for him.”
Judd Zulgad of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities writes that Rice is looking forward to facing his former team.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com writes that after eight games, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson is not acting or feeling like a rookie. “I don’t feel like that all,” Wilson said. “I get some jokes here and there, obviously, in the locker room and stuff. But mentally, I don’t feel like that at all. I think more than anything, I’m dedicated to this offense and dedicated to this football team. So I think everybody is equal. We’re just trying to win. That’s our focus all the time, is competing and playing at a high level.”
Danny O’Neil of The Seattle Times writes that Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch are throwbacks in a time where most team are featuring two-back systems. O’Neil: “Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch are an endangered species in today’s NFL, workhorses who don’t shy away from contact. In fact, they’re more likely to initiate it. Peterson and Lynch aren’t part of a running back committee so much as running backs their teams have committed to.”
ESPN’s Mike Sando notes that Russell Wilson has struggled in third quarters this season.
Doug Kretz of Scouts Inc. predicts a 24-17 win for Seattle. You must be an ESPN Insider to view this: Kretz: “The Vikings’ defensive front appears more concerned about rushing the passer than it does stopping the run. The Vikings have given up an average of 156 yards a game on the ground the last three games.”
Lindsay Jones of USA Today talks with Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman. The outspoken cornerback says his team is just looking for respect. “The game is a game,” Sherman said. “At the end of the day, they have to go out there and beat me. I have tremendous confidence in my teammates and what we can do on the field, and what we can do to our opponents.”
Joel Corry of the National Football Post takes an early look at what some of the franchise tag numbers could be for 2013.
Bill Barnwell of Grantland thinks the Seahawks can grab a wild card berth if they take care of business in the second half of the season. Barnwell: “Their schedule going forward is actually pretty friendly, especially considering the fact that they get to play five of their eight remaining games at home, including three games against their NFC West brethren. Their three road games include trips to Buffalo and Miami, which aren’t exactly the most fearsome locations in the league. Barring some miraculous run by the Cowboys or Bucs, Seattle feels like it’ll be the “surprise” average team to come out of the NFC.”