UPDATE: The Star Tribune confirms from Rice himself that he did have hip surgery on Monday. It's expected he'll be out the first half of the season, but I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be longer.
For all the locker room drama with QB Brett Favre's un-retirement, that stuff doesn't necessarily matter on the field. Not if the team is winning. But their ability to win has suffered a major blow if WR Sidney Rice has hip surgery that could "sideline him for the first half of the season." Rice might seem like just another wide receiver in the Vikings arsenal, but he was the best receiver in the NFL last season according to Football Outsiders. Favre's best season in the post-Holmgren era were when he had multiple receiving threats. He struggled in seasons like 2005 and 2006 when he could only rely on WR Donald Driver. This is a serious problem for the Vikings offense.
However the Vikings have a funny solution: they could sign WR Javon Walker. The best part of the linked article from the Star Tribune is that they show a highlight picture of Walker from 2003. Has it been that long since he was relevant? Not quite, his best seasons were in 2004 and 2006, but it's been a while. I hope Favre reminds Walker of what he thinks of players that hold out of training camp.