WR Baskett Ready For Fresh Start

Posted by cjsiewert on September 22, 2010 – 4:39 pm

As the Vikings move their focus on to the division foe Detroit Lions, they also made a move to bolster depth at WR. Hank Baskett was signed by the Vikings on Tuesday after his release from the Philadelphia Eagles.  Signing the 6-4, 220-pounder adds height to a WR core that is lacking a lengthy receiver with Sidney Rice sidelined by a hip injury.

The 5-year veteran is looking to return to the form he displayed during his rookie season in Philadelphia when he posted respectable numbers for a 1st-year player – 22 receptions for 464 yards and 2 TDs. The 2 TDs he recorded that year made Baskett the 2nd rookie in NFL history to post 2 TD receptions for over 85 yards each.

Baskett was signed by the Vikings as an undrafted rookie free agent but was traded to the Eagles, where he spent his first 3 NFL seasons. In September of 2009 he was released by the Eagles and then signed with the Indianapolis Colts later that month. After the Colts released basket in March of 2010, he signed back on with the Eagles and was released by Philadelphia earlier in the week.

Throughout his career, Baskett has recorded 76 receptions for 1,080 yards and 6 TDs.

Baskett’s return to Winter Park was a welcoming one but also presents the challenge of getting familiar with new teammates and the offensive approach.

“Very excited, it’s a fresh opportunity once again,” Baskett told a group of reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “Knowing the system, the system is pretty much the same (as the Eagles) so that’s going to help me come in and hopefully contribute as soon as possible once I get a few of the little details ironed out here and there.”

The familiarity that Baskett has of the Vikings offensive scheme comes as a blessing to him since he is joining a team that’s been working together for the past 2 months. Catching up to speed will present the greatest hurdle for Baskett to overcome.

“The fact that I knew all of the (receiving) positions on offense is what helped me be around in Philadelphia and that’s what’s going to help me transition here,” Baskett acknowledged.

Baskett missed the coaching of Childress in Philadelphia as the 5th-year Vikings Head Coach made the move to Minnesota during the offseason prior to Baskett’s rookie season. Despite the missed coaching opportunity, Baskett feels comfortable teaming up with Childress and the organization.

“Definitely had great talks with coach Childress last night so that’s why I’m here,” Baskett said. “The fact that the Vikings have invited me back, that says a lot. I truly appreciate coach Childress and the team for a second opportunity here.”

Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 136 Comments »

Vikings and Lions Issue Injury Reports

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 22, 2010 – 2:16 pm

The Vikings and Detroit Lions have each issue their initial injury reports of the week and there’s a lot to go over.

Let’s begin with the Vikings, where WR Percy Harvin (hip/illness) did not participate and there others were limited – WR Bernard Berrian (knee), CB Cedric Griffin (knee) and LB Ben Leber (back). The following players are on the injury report but were full participants in practice: CB Chris Cook (knee), QB Brett Favre (ankle), DT Jimmy Kennedy (knee), T Bryant McKinnie (finger) and C John Sullivan (calf).

The bad news is Harvin’s absence but Cook being a full participant and RB Toby Gerhart’s absence from the report are positive developments.

For the Lions, 5 players were held out of practice and 3 more were limited. Players held out of practice included: WR Nate Burleson (ankle), S Louis Delmas (groin/biceps/calf), LB Zach Follett (concussion), G Stephen Peterman (foot) and QB Matthew Stafford (foot). The players limited in practice on Wednesday were DE Cliff Avril (knee/finger), S C.C. Brown (forearm) and LB DeAndre Levy (groin).

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 26 Comments »

Setting The Table For Detroit

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 22, 2010 – 6:59 am

The Vikings will look to re-establish their home-field dominance this Sunday as they take on the Detroit Lions at Mall of America Field. The Lions haven’t won in Minnesota since 1997 and the Vikings have won 19 of the past 21 meetings between these teams, including 7 of 8 with Brad Childress as the team’s head coach.

But these aren’t the lowly Lions of seasons past. Although they’ll enter this Sunday’s contest with an 0-2 record, they nearly defeated the Chicago Bears in Soldier Field (a game-winning Calvin Johnson TD was taken away on replay) and they stormed back to nearly top the Philadelphia Eagles last week. Head Coach Jim Schwartz has the Lions going in the right direction and the Vikings will have their hands full this weekend.

The trends listed in the 1st paragraph of this entry regarding the Vikings dominance over Detroit are remarkable. But the Vikings surely realize they can’t simply rely on past results to beat Detroit. And that’s perhaps the most encouraging sign I saw in the Vikings post-game locker room after last Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Miami Dolphins – the Vikings realize it’s not as easy as just showing up to play.

“You’ve got to play the game,” DT Kevin Williams said after last Sunday’s loss. “You can’t just show up, no matter how many guys you have returning, who’s at quarterback, who’s on the defensive line, who’s at running back. You’ve got to play the game. When we realize that, we’ll be a lot better. We can’t just show up and think we’re going to win games.

“Everybody needs to check themselves and we’ll go from there. You’ve got to play the game. This is the National Football League. Every team has good players. You’ve got to play the game.”

Williams said every team in the NFL has good players, so let’s take a look at a few of the Lions players who are off to good starts…

– Rookie RB Jahvid Best has been the sensation of the NFL through 2 weeks. He’s the Lions leading rusher and receiver, and he already has 5 TDs. Clearly, Best is a beast both in the run game and the pass game, so expect the Vikings to key on him this Sunday.

– The Lions defensive front 4 will not get the respect it deserves, but they are a talented bunch. Detroit beefed up the front 4 through offseason transactions, selecting DT Ndamukong Suh with the #2 overall pick in last April’s draft, picking up DE Kyle Vanden Bosch via free agency and acquiring DT Corey Williams from the Cleveland Browns via trade. All 3 players have been difference-makers to this point and I expect that to continue this season, so the Vikings offensive line will have a challenge this week.

– Detroit will be forced to play its backup QB this weekend because starting QB Matthew Stafford injured his shoulder in Week 1. But the Lions don’t have just any backup QB; they have Shaun Hill. While Hill won’t be knocking on the doors of Canton, OH for entrance into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he’s a capable backup who had the Vikings beat last year as San Francisco’s starter in Week 3 until Brett Favre and Greg Lewis combined for that memorable game-winning TD. Hill is a former Viking and surely looks forward to playing against his former team.

– And of course you can’t talk about the Detroit Lions without mentioning superstar WR Calvin Johnson. He’s a legit game-changer with elite size and speed. The Vikings secondary has performed well while short-handed through 2 games, but they have not seen a receiver with nearly the amount of skill as Johnson so far in 2010. Johnson will test assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s scheme and plan on Sunday.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 80 Comments »