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Vikings Corner: Rice stealing the show for Vikings

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Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre may have their names etched on the marquee, but it's Sidney Rice that's stealing the show.

On an offense full of talented play makers the most underrated might be Rice. Even though he plays the role well Rice is used to having his name in the lights, he has dominated play everywhere he's went.

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Growing up in South Carolina, Rice was one of the top high school athletes in the state. He was named all-state in both Football and Basketball and led his team to titles in each.

True to his state, Rice stayed home for college. As a red-shirt freshman at South Carolina, he set the single-season receiving record and in his second season he broke Sterling Sharpe's career record for touchdowns and yards.

Rice only stayed for two seasons, opting for the draft in 2007. He was picked by Minnesota in the second round, behind Adrian Peterson.

Currently the leading receiver in the NFC, Rice had yet to breakout throughout his short pro career. It was injuries that cut short each of his first two seasons, but he impressed you with his ability to just flat-out catch the football.

Unlike his former teammate at South Carolina, Troy Williamson, who used speed to beat defenders, Rice uses his body. He has a unique ability to create space even while he's covered, relying on his hands to beat defenses. It's a style similar to another famous Rice, Jerry.

"Speed obviously helps to create separation," said Favre.

"But sometimes a guy's worst enemy is his speed. Whereas a guy like Sidney will use his size. It's really like rebounding, jockeying for position. The tallest guy is not always the guy who gets the most rebounds. It's the guy that's the most determined, the guy who gets in good position, knows when to time jumps, plays the ball very well, and just has a knack for doing it."

That knack for catching the football has drawn the attention of both Favre and opposing defenses, but that doesn't mean the throws will stop coming.

Confident that Rice will finish the play, Brett just tries to give him that chance.

"Whether it's high," said coach Brad Childress. "Whether it's low or whether it's back shoulder, he's going to give him an opportunity to make a play in one-on-one football matchups."

It's winning those individual match-ups that Rice focuses on each week. "I need to do the little things," he said. "That's what helps me become a successful receiver. Not so much work on the things that I am already good at, but working on the things that I am not good at."

Named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his 201 yard performance against the Lions last week, Rice has developed into the teams' number one receiver.

"There are a lot of guys in this league that don't play to their size," said Favre. "But Sidney does. I told him that from day one. I said, 'Hey, this will be, for me, a luxury to be able to throw the ball up and you bail me out."

Rice says the secret to his play is simple. "Just running the routes full speed and being in the right place at the right time. Just doing what I am supposed to do."

To him it's nothing new; he's dominating the way he always has. We're going to need a bigger marquee.

TJ Melcher can be heard on KBUN AM 1450.

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Pioneer staff reports
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