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Tuesday, December 7, 2010
NFC North High Energy Player of the Week

By Kevin Seifert

NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 13.

Sidney Rice
Sidney Rice's two spectacular touchdown grabs helped Minnesota beat the Bills.
Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver had the play of the week in the NFC North, rumbling and stumbling for a 61-yard highlight-reel touchdown in a blowout of the San Francisco 49ers. Were it not for that play, however, I think more people would be talking about the pair of spectacular catches Minnesota Vikings receiver Sidney Rice made in a blowout of the Buffalo Bills.

In his first two games after returning from hip surgery, Rice quietly caught four passes for 76 yards. But on Sunday, he gathered in a 31-yard touchdown over two Bills defenders, made a diving 6-yard touchdown reception and finished with five catches for 105 yards.

It was not only a reminder of the kind of play Rice made routinely during his breakout season in 2009, but also a good encapsulation of what the Vikings missed during the first nine games of the season. In many ways, their struggles started when Rice couldn't overcome the injury during offseason rehabilitation and eventually was forced to have surgery in late August.

Who knows how the Vikings' season would have gone if Rice's ability to turn bad throws into great catches had been available from the start.