Hank Baskett said he was caught off guard when the Philadelphia Eagles released him on Tuesday and surprised again when the Vikings called to sign him.

Baskett originally signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent out of college in 2006 but was quickly traded to Philadelphia for wide receiver Billy McMullen.

Baskett went through his first practice Wednesday and met with reporters afterward.

"It was a surprise, but very excited," he said. "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. I had a great talk with Coach Childress last night and that’s why I’m here. It’s a great opportunity."
With Sidney Rice sidelined after having hip surgery, the Vikings are missing a big receiver. Baskett (6-4, 220 pounds) said the coaching staff talked to him about filling the void.
"That’s one thing that helped me out in Philadelphia, being a bigger receiver in the red zone," he said. "I like that opportunity. I have a lot of respect for Sidney. 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 out-run 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."
Baskett said he first needs to earn Brett Favre's trust.
"If I walk in right now and he tells me he trusts me, I want it that fast," Baskett said. "But I know it takes time. It’s either put up or shut up. I need to come out here and perform and get his confidence. It’s not going to be given. I’m willing to work to get his confidence. That’s what I’m here to do."
Baskett address a few other topics. Among them:
  • On his wife Kendra Wilkinson, a reality TV star: "My wife yes is a celebrity. But the biggest thing and I’ve stated it clear from the beginning is that she’s the celebrity and I’m a football player. Yeah people may know me more for that but I would definitely love to come here and make some plays and contribute to the team and be known as a football player. I’ll let her stick the being the celebrity."
  • On being released by the Eagles: "It definitely caught me off guard. But it’s the NFL. It’s the life we choose. Stranger things have happened. In my career I’ve had some pretty strange things happen. Like you said, welcome back to Minnesota. It was a short stay but I’m excited to have the opportunity to come back."
  • On playing with quarterbacks Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb in his career: "My brother actually joked with me about that. He said I was just teasing you a couple of years ago when I said you get to play with some of the greats. Now you’re kind of pushing the limits. It’s awesome because you get to learn from these guys. They’re great and they’ve been around a long time. I get to say that I’ve played with guys who are forever going to change the record books."
  • On his failure to recover an onside kick at the start of the second half against the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl last season: "Everyone knows that follows football that the game isn’t changed on one play. There’s always 80 plays that happen. It was a tough situation. In Philadelphia, I was the special teams captain. People around the league know my special teams capabilities. Yeah, some people may want to say -- just because they saw that one play – they may want to say this and that about what happened. But everyone around the league knows my mindset when it comes to special teams. I take pride in special teams. My wife took it to heart. I was like, You know what, that one play is not going to break me. Yeah it was tough and it was the Super Bowl. But that wasn’t the one play of the game. Trust me. It was the start of the third quarter. We had the first half and we still had all of the second half. There was a lot of football to be played."

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