Sidney Rice, who'll face Minnesota on Saturday night after leaving the team to sign a five-year, $41 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks, said the Vikings never even tried to negotiate a new deal with him.
"If you hear from them throughout the rest of the season telling you they are going to be in touch, are going to negotiate and it never happens, you've got to wonder -- do they really want me there or not?" Rice told the *St. Paul Pioneer Press* on Wednesday. "I just didn't feel it ... It came down to Seattle showing me they wanted me to be a part of the program."
Rice is one of three former Vikings who signed with the Seahawks this offseason. The others are quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
A controversial hip surgery, done two weeks before last season's opener despite the injury being suffered in January, could have factored in the Vikings' decision-making. Rice missed 10 games while recovering. The Vikings, close to the salary cap of $120.4 million, also couldn't have countered the Seahawks' offer without some major moves.
"It was a lot of ups and downs," he said. "I'm not really one to speak on myself that way, so I will let the critics critique me on that. My ultimate goal was to be healthy and make plays on the field. In Minnesota, I did the exact same thing I wanted to do here, and that's to give my team the chance to win."
When asked if he had any regrets about the timing of the surgery, Rice said he followed doctor's orders, adding, "(The trainers) felt it was something (that) could heal on its own at the time, and obviously that didn't happen."
Rice still bristles at the criticism and speculation about his motives, he acknowledged, before adding, "I don't really care about that."
"It's a decision I had to live with," he said. "I'm fine with the decision that was made."
However, Rice does give major credit to the Vikings training staff for what he calls a full recovery, saying they made sure he wasn't another player "just coming off an injury."
"I leave there with fond memories," Rice said. "I had a great time with the fans and my teammates."