Vikings miss out on Jackson; sign WR Baskett
EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings added a receiver on Wednesday, just not the one they really wanted.
Free agent Hank Baskett signed a one-year deal to return to Minnesota one day after getting cut by the Philadelphia Eagles.
"It was a surprise, but very excited," Baskett said after practice on Wednesday. "It's a fresh opportunity again. The system is pretty much the same so it's going to help me contribute as soon as possible once I get a few of the little details ironed out."
But the Vikings were unable to pull off a trade with the San Diego Chargers for Vincent Jackson before a 4 p.m. Eastern deadline that would have allowed him to play after missing four games this season. Now Jackson, who was suspended for three games after two DWI arrests and is on the Commissioner's Exempt List, will have to sit out six games this season before being eligible to suit up if he were to sign a deal.
Baskett was in training camp with the Vikings in 2006 before being traded to the Eagles for receiver Billy McMullen. He spent three seasons with the Eagles before playing most of last year with Indianapolis. He rejoined the Eagles in the offseason and played in the first two games before getting cut.
Given the state of their receivers, the Vikings didn't hesitate to bring in a player who is familiar with their style of offense.
"His roots are in the West Coast system," coach Brad Childress said. "He can get up to speed as fast as we need him to."
And it's going to need to be really fast.
Pro Bowl receiver Sidney Rice is out at least another month after having hip surgery and Percy Harvin aggravated his strained right hip in the loss to Miami on Sunday. Harvin also missed practice on Wednesday with another migraine headache, a condition that kept him out of most of training camp.
That leaves only four healthy receivers on the roster -- Baskett, Bernard Berrian, Greg Camarillo and Greg Lewis. All told, the four have seven catches for 89 yards in the first two weeks.
The 6-foot-4 Baskett does bring something the rest of their receivers lack. With Rice out, Brett Favre did not have another player on the roster he could throw a fade to in the end zone and expect the target to out-jump a smaller cornerback to get the ball.
"I have a lot of respect for Sidney," Baskett said. "I saw him make a lot of plays last year. That's some stuff I think I can do.
"There are those guys that can just completely outrun guys. Sometimes you need those guys to go up and get the ball. I think that's one thing they're looking for from me, is to go up and get the ball."
That's why the Vikings were so interested in Jackson. The Pro Bowler is 6-foot-5 and currently in a contract dispute with the Chargers.
Jackson's agent Neil Schwartz told The Associated Press that the Chargers were asking too much in return for him.
"Multiple teams have told me that they can't get a deal done with A.J. and some of the teams have referred to A.J. as 'The Lord of No Rings,"' Schwartz said. "That's how they characterized him."
That means the Vikings (0-2) will have to go ahead with the guys they have in preparation for the Detroit Lions. Star running back Adrian Peterson, for one, thinks his teammates can get the job done.
"I feel like we have a lot of talent in our locker room," Peterson said. "Some guys can step up and make some plays. Our offense, we got that."