Minnesota Vikings receiver Sidney Rice might be headed for surgery on his hip, according to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune. If so, both and he and the Vikings will be open to the obvious question: Why now?
NFL teams are rarely forthcoming about injuries, so we don't know some crucial details about Rice's condition -- namely, the exact nature of the ailment or even which hip is affected. Here's what we do know, however: The injury originally occurred in the 2009 playoffs. On my calendar, that was almost eight months ago. If surgery was necessary, why not take care of it before regular-season games were impacted? Did something happen between the playoffs and now to make surgery necessary? Or did rumors of Rice's discontent with his contract play a role in the timetable?
If Rice has surgery, he could miss the first half of the season. That would leave the Vikings without their leading receiver during the tough early portion of their schedule. It would be a huge loss no matter how it happened, but for it to go down like this deserves our skepticism.
*Update: Rice confirmed to the Star Tribune that he had surgery Monday. More to come later in the day.
Continuing around the NFC North:
The Vikings might have to keep rookie quarterback Joe Webb on their 53-man roster to avoid losing him in the waiver process, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Webb ended Sunday's game at San Francisco with an athletic touchdown and an inexcusable sack, writes Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Chicago Bears aren't panicking and don't think you should either, writes Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com.
Going up against defensive end Julius Peppers in practice every day could make Bears left tackle Chris Williams "better, [a] more honest technician against more modestly talented pass-rushers, or it can make him a self-doubting basket case," writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Quarterback Caleb Hanie could lose his No. 2 job to newcomer Todd Collins, notes Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald.
Green Bay Packers rookie offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga left practice Monday night because of a hip flexor, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers took Jarrett Bush off their top special teams groups, a sign his roster spot could be in jeopardy, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) is hoping to play in the team's preseason finale, writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Detroit Lions safety Louis Delmas (groin) returned to practice Monday, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com, but it's not clear if he participated in the entire session.
Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit Lions warns of an outbreak of "Lionitis," defined as "an uncontrollable inflammation of expectations."
Lions tailback Kevin Smith says he is "close" to 100 percent following offseason knee surgery, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.