The Minnesota Vikings Sidney Rice’s agent Drew Rosenhaus has said that Rice will not sign with the Vikings before first testing free agency. The Vikings decided to use their franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway this off season paving the way for Rice to become a free agent.
Rice, who had a huge season in 2009, had hip surgery and then missed the first 9 games of the Vikings 2010 season. He finished the season with 17 receptions for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Rice has scored 18 touchdowns and pulled down 146 catches for 2,129 yards over four seasons for the Vikings. According to Rosenhaus and the Vikings, there were some productive talks at the combine about Rice and the Vikings have reportedly offered Rice a new contract as of this past Friday. The Vikings seem sincere in their desire to keep Rice, however, he will test free agency before he signs anything new with the Vikings.
The CBA also figures into the Rice deal for the Vikings as they can sign Rice before the current CBA expires March 3. If the do not sign him before the current CBA expires, the team can’t negotiate with Rice until a new CBA gets done, in the event of a lockout. Until the new CBA is done, Rice will not know if he is a restricted or unrestricted free agent. Rosenhaus is apparently of the belief that a new CBA would render Rice an unrestricted free agent, which would open negotiations greatly.
The Vikings want to keep Rice, but it remains to be seen if they want to keep him more than anyone else if he does turn out to be unrestricted. Rosenhaus is well known for waiting to the last minute and pushing teams to give his clients the absolute top dollar. Rice’s negotiations will be no different. Let the games begin.