Notebook: Other receivers await their chance

With Percy Harvin hobbling and Sidney Rice not playing, it will be up to a limited and lesser-used receiving corps to make plays Sunday. Plus, are there any plans for changes in the secondary?

On Wednesday, Vikings coach Brad Childress was asked what his other options were at wide receiver since releasing Randy Moss. His answer only further incensed the hardcore fans already upset that Childress cut the future Hall of Fame receiver.

"We've got Hank Baskett, who has been inactive," Childress said. "We'll elevate his turns and get him in the mix."

Baskett has been active for only one game so far this year, but there was some hope that Pro Bowl receiver Sidney Rice might be able to play Sunday after coming off the physically-unable to perform. However, Rice put an an end to that possibility Friday.

"I'm not playing Sunday," Rice said.

On Friday, Childress left open that possibility after saying earlier in the week that Rice "most probably" wouldn't play.

"He's made it through the whole practices, but in a different kind of capacity," Childress said Friday. "He's taken turns with our starters. He's taken a lot of turns on the scout team. We've kind of mixed and matched him there. He takes the whole game plan in and goes through it. He's working through some soreness right now. You might say he could play in a limited sector. That's all being determined. I think probably next week's more viable. We're still going to see."

Rice seconded the assertion of soreness.

"Just regular soreness, probably feel like training camp right now," Rice said. "I haven't done nothing in so long, so the legs are a little heavy, a little sore."

With no Moss, no Rice and a limited Harvin, the Vikings' receiving corps is once again a shell. Their top-paid receiver, Bernard Berrian, will have to play like it. Berrian, who has nine catches for 87 yards in seven games, says the criticism of him has been unwarranted.

"Yeah, I think it's unfair, but I guess you could say the numbers don't lie too, but it's kind of a tricky question," Berrian said, clearly trying to find the right words. "You can still finish strong."

The reality is that Greg Lewis and, yes, even Baskett will have to contribute.

"You definitely don't want to change your approach about anything because if you do that you're looking at this job the wrong way," Baskett said of continuing without Moss. "You've got to approach every week the same.

"We know that there's going to be a lot of eyes on the receiving corps now, but we're not going to go out and change our practice, we're not going to change our game plan, we're not going to do anything like that. We're going to go out and perform like everybody was doing before Randy got here and we're going to do the same now that Randy is gone. We're going to perform."


Childress and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said missed tackles were at the center of the Vikings' suddenly poor showing in the run defense in the second of last Sunday's game. Safety Madieu Williams was one of those who missed some tackles last Sunday, but asked about potential changes in the secondary, Childress indicated none were planned.

"There's not a lot of changes that are available back there. We're just trying to get a bunch of guys to get to the dance on Sunday. But, no, not considering (changes)," he said. "Those guys will still mix and match back there. The guys that practice good are the guys that are going to be out there on Sunday."

That said, Jamarca Sanford got some work in place of Williams during Friday's practice.


  • Baskett said he garnered the trust of Brett Favre quickly after being signed. Favre: "He trusts everybody. That's one thing I love about him. He looks across the field. He's not going to just focus on one person," Baskett said. "He'll find the open man."

  • Despite going through three practices this week and not playing on Sunday, Rice said he is excited to return when the time is right. "Of course I'm excited. Not being out there in so long, it's tough, but I'm glad to be back out there running around," he said.

  • Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on Rice: "I'm excited to see him out there (in practice). It's good to have him just back out there practicing. He brings a certain energy with him. He looked good moving around," Bevell said. "Always the next day you expect them to be sore, regardless of how much work they've done up to this point. When you put them back on the field it's a different level of intensity. He's a little bit sore, just in terms of muscles and going at that speed. But he looked good and we'll continue to push."

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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