Bears-Vikings Personnel Preview

Michael Haynes has played the good soldier throughout his up-and-down career in Chicago, rarely taking shots at a coaching staff that doesn't seem to have faith in him. Is this Haynes' last game with the Bears? See what he has to say about it and hear from the Vikings camp as well, along with notes from both teams.

The 14th overall pick in the 2003 draft has started just four games for the Bears. When GM Jerry Angelo had to trade for Adewale Ogunleye a year after taking Haynes proved his time in Chicago would be limited.

Haynes tried to fit into Lovie Smith's defensive philosophy by dropping weight, but he's not a speed rusher and that's what the Bears covet. He was drafted for the previous defensive system and knows he would be better off somewhere else.

"It wouldn't surprise me if the coaches decided for a change. That wouldn't shock me," Haynes said. "Obviously being a first-round pick you always want to play. Of course I'm upset that I'm not playing more so we're going to have to address that at the end of the season."

For the first time in his career, Haynes was inactive against Oct. 16 against the Vikings. Being in civilian clothes became a trend, he's been inactive five games this season and if he suits up against Minnesota in the season finale it could the last time. The Bears are unlikely to use him the postseason unless there's an unforeseen injury.

Teams inquired about Haynes before the trade deadline, but nothing happened. Despite the fallout in Chicago, Haynes has kept quiet about the situation. There could be some trade interest from teams that play a 3-4 defense because capable of playing solid run defense and can be a power rusher.

"Alex (Brown) and Wale (Ogunleye) are doing extremely well and eventually I would like a true opportunity to start and the way things are looking now it will probably end up being somewhere else," Haynes said.

Haynes is halfway through his six-year, $10.225 million rookie contract.


  • SS Mike Brown, who has missed the past three games with a strained calf, says he's ready to play Sunday, but it appears he will not be cleared by trainers and coaches fearful that he will aggravate the injury and be out for the postseason.

  • Despite Lovie Smith's posturing, QB Rex Grossman, like most of the Bears' starters, is expected to play about a half before being rested for the playoffs.

  • RB Adrian Peterson is expected to get more playing time than usual Sunday, possibly entering the game as soon as Thomas Jones gets the 27 yards he needs to give him 1,300 for the season. That number could be diminished if Cedric Benson is ready to play. The running back has missed the last ?? games with an MCL sprain, but has practiced all week.

    Running back Michael Bennett is among 16 Vikings players who will be unrestricted free agents this offseason. The team's first-round pick in 2001, Bennett has had an up-and-down season that has seen him starting at times and barely able to get off the bench on other occasions.

    His on-again, off-again use continued Sunday at Baltimore when he was pulled from the game after playing the first three plays and did not return. Still, Bennett has said he would like to remain with Minnesota after the season.

    That, however, seems like a longshot. The Vikings tried to trade Bennett to Dennis Green's Arizona Cardinals -- Green was the Minnesota coach when Bennett was drafted -- for a late-round draft pick early in the season, but Arizona wasn't interested.

    Bennett is trying to keep things as normal as possible this week as the Vikings prepare to play Chicago in their season finale Sunday at the Metrodome.

    "I'm just looking forward to going out and playing," he said. "It's definitely an emotional time for myself and others. But I don't want to look at it as like my last day as a Viking or whatever term you could use for it. I just want to approach it like another game, going out, it's my last game of the year. Hopefully not (the last) with this team, but, you know, if it is, then I just have to deal with it."

    Bennett is second on the Vikings with 391 rushing yards on 120 attempts (3.3 yards per carry) and has two touchdowns. Mewelde Moore leads Minnesota with 605 yards on 149 carries (4.1 average) and one touchdown.

    It's quite possible the Vikings could look elsewhere for a running back after the season. Minnesota also must make a decision on Onterrio Smith, who is serving a one-year suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Rookie Ciatrick Fason also stands to see more playing time in 2006.

    Keeping all of this in mind, Bennett admits he will take a little longer leaving the field Sunday.

    "As far as playing, I will still be myself, but I'll probably just take my time walking off and just kind of soaking it all in," he said. "This week is coming (to a close) so fast. Tomorrow is already Friday and it's almost here. You hate to end on ... kind of like an up-and-down year like we've had. I guess things will work themselves out."


  • LB E.J. Henderson missed practice two days of practice because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Henderson is listed as probable for Sunday.

  • WR Marcus Robinson stayed away from the Vikings' facility Wednesday and Thursday because of the flu, but returned to work Friday. He remains probable on the injury report and it would be hard imagine him missing a chance to beat his old team.

  • RT Marcus Johnson and C Melvin Fowler (sprained ankles) continue to practice. Johnson remains listed as questionable. Fowler is listed as probable.

  • NT Pat Williams remains in Louisiana with his family. Williams' father, Mayfield, died Tuesday, and the funeral will be held Saturday. Williams plans on returning in time for Sunday's game.

  • S Willie Offord and DE Kenechi Udeze, both lost early in the season because of knee injuries, say they are on track to return for mini-camp. Offord is a free agent after the season. contributed to this report.

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