I can't recall so many Vikings fans being worked up about an undrafted free agent being jettisoned as they were when Hank Baskett was traded to Philadelphia before the 2006 season.
Baskett, if memory serves, had come to an offseason camp with the Vikings and shortly thereafter was sent to Philadelphia for Billy McMullen. Brad Childress, who was entering his first season as an NFL coach, was familiar with McMullen after having been his offensive coordinator with the Eagles and clearly thought Baskett was expendable.
That was then.
Tonight, Baskett is on his way back to the Twin Cities to sign a one-year deal with the Vikings after being released by the Eagles for the second time in his career. As far as the fans? Well, it's pretty obvious by many of the comments on the previous blog that the love they felt for Baskett in 2006 is now a feeling of contempt that really is being directed at the Vikings.
The reason is because after days of talk that Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson might be headed to Minnesota, the only sure thing is that Baskett is coming this way. Obviously, you can't compare Jackson -- a No. 1 type receiver-- to Baskett -- a guy who safely could be labeled a journeyman at this point.
But the real question is this: Are these two moves related?
Baskett is 6-foot-4 and Jackson is 6-5, so the former does provide Brett Favre with the big target that he currently lacks. But common sense says there is NO way anyone at Winter Park is saying that Baskett is the equal of Jackson and thus cancels him out.
More likely, the Vikings wanted Baskett because they badly need depth at receiver, especially with Percy Harvin likely being limited or out of practice this week due to a strained right hip. Jackson also couldn't play for the Vikings, if he's obtained until Oct. 17, so he would be no immediate help.
It could be argued the Vikings are still very much alive and well in the Jackson sweepstakes. The reality is the Vikings appear to be the only real bidder at this point and it's Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith who holds all the power in deciding what it will take to get Jackson off his roster.
ESPN reported Tuesday that Smith wanted two second-round selections. I've heard different things but the reality is that Smith isn't going to let Jackson go at a cheap price. He has no incentive to do that, especially since the Chargers likely could get a third-round compensatory pick by letting Jackson sit out all season and then walk as a free agent.
What better way to show players that if you mess with the Chargers they will mess with you?
Smith also might be waiting until the 11th hour just to see how much he can get out of the Vikings or another late entrant. The deadline for Jackson to be traded is 3 p.m. Wednesday. Considering the NFL is a league that seems to be all about waiting until the last minute, it would be foolish to believe Jackson to the Vikings is dead until someone either says it is or until 3 p.m. comes and goes.
At that point, Jackson would have to serve all six games of his suspension, instead of four, and I believe Smith will never get his asking price if that happens. But until that time, I wouldn't be convinced that Baskett's return means that Jackson will never arrive.