Childress still won't commit on Sidney Rice

Another day closer to the next must-win game for Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress, he wouldn’t say one way or the other what the team’s plans are for playmaking wide receiver Sidney Rice for Sunday’s game at Chicago.

Rice remains on the physically unable to perform list as he works his way back from poorly timed hip surgery this summer. It was poorly timed in the sense that had Rice had surgery in the spring, he would have been ready quite a while ago.

Rice has been practicing and reports have been encouraging, but as Childress says it’s one thing to go through practice, it’s another thing to go through a game. Here’s the bottom line: If the Vikings believe there’s any chance Rice can help them in Sunday’s game against the Bears, he’ll be activated to the 53-man roster before Saturday’s deadline.

Rice made an instant connection with quarterback Brett Favre last season, catching 83 passes for 1,312 yards (15.1 average) and eight touchdowns. He combined for 46 receptions in his first two seasons. The absence of the 6-4, 202-pound Rice is why the Vikings rolled the dice (and lost) with Randy Moss.

“He’ll fit in the system should he make it back, he was practicing last week,” Childress said in a conference call with Chicago media. “It’s one of those deals, you want to see how the guy comes back to you every time, every day. Because he is going to go through some initial soreness, which he has, and it’s quite one thing to practice on an NFL field, it’s another thing to absorb the hits and play NFL speed football.

“Those are kind of the things that he’s weighing, that we’re weighing, but we’ll make the decision whether he can go or not all together.”

The bet here is Rice will be on the field unless there’s some type of setback this week. A victory for the Vikings (3-5) would pull them within a game of the second-place Bears (5-3) in the NFC North.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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