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Updated: September 21st, 2010 9:25pm
Vikings to sign former Eagles, Colts receiver Hank Baskett

Vikings to sign former Eagles, Colts receiver Hank Baskett

by Tom Pelissero
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The Minnesota Vikings have added another receiver to help their struggling offense -- and it's not Vincent Jackson.

An NFL source confirmed late Tuesday night the Vikings will sign Hank Baskett, who was released earlier in the day by the Philadelphia Eagles. The signing first was reported by

Baskett, 28, originally signed with the Vikings in 2006 as an undrafted free agent but was traded to Philadelphia for receiver Billy McMullen before he played a regular-season game here.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound New Mexico product had 71 receptions for 1,046 yards over his first three seasons with the Eagles, playing in all but one game from 2006 to '08. But Baskett was cut one game into last season and signed with Indianapolis, where he's best remembered for failing to recover an onside kick in the Colts' Super Bowl loss to New Orleans.

Philadelphia re-signed Baskett to a one-year, $800,000 contract in March. He played in both games this season but didn't have a catch before the Eagles released him to make room for running back Joique Bell.

The signing is at least partly a reaction to the uncertain status of Percy Harvin, who aggravated a hip injury in the Vikings' loss to Miami on Sunday. The Vikings have been carrying only four receivers on the 53-man roster; the emergency option last week if Harvin hadn't played was to elevate Logan Payne from the practice squad.

The Vikings also are looking for a spark in their passing game, which has been impotent during their 0-2 start. Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Greg Lewis and Greg Camarillo have combined to catch only 13 passes for 129 yards, while Brett Favre has thrown one touchdown pass and four interceptions.

No. 1 receiver Sidney Rice remains on crutches following hip surgery and seems unlikely to be ready for the Vikings' sixth game, when he's eligible to come off the reserve/physically unable to perform list. His absence has left Favre without a big target and fully dimensional receiver who can threaten downfield, as well as in the short and intermediate passing game.

Baskett's experience in Eagles coach Andy Reid's version of the West Coast offense could help him be ready for at least limited action on Sunday against Detroit. He's the latest in a line of former Eagles skill-position players who have ended up in Minnesota.

The signing doesn't necessarily have any bearing on the Vikings' pursuit of Jackson (6-5, 230), a Pro Bowl pick in 2009 whose substance-abuse suspension would make him unavailable until their fifth game -- or their seventh game if a deal isn't completed by 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The Vikings and Chargers have talked for weeks about a trade for Jackson, but San Diego reportedly is asking for multiple high draft picks in return. (ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Tuesday afternoon the asking price is two second-rounders.) That's an extremely steep price to pay for a player who might end up only playing 12 games for his new team on a one-year deal.

Baskett most likely will sign a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum. He arrives as a package deal with his wife, former Playboy model and reality television star Kendra Wilkinson.

It was unclear what the corresponding move would be to make room for Baskett on the 53-man roster. The Vikings remain heavy on tight ends (four) and defensive linemen (10).

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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