Bennett to Get Full Workload?

Last year, Michael Bennett had his breakout season ... partially. VU is being told that Mike Tice wants to make the breakout complete this season.

As Vikings fans read about Michael Bennett's 2002 season, you'll see rave reviews. Ask fantasy football fans and you'll hear cursing.

The Vikes had two players that scored double-digit touchdowns last year, but neither of them was Bennett. Moe Williams ran in 11 TDs and Daunte Culpepper ran in 10 -- something Mike Tice will be looking to change.

Tice will experiment early this year in trying to make Bennett an every-down back instead of a situational runner. Many times last year, Bennett came out of the game on passing downs and short-yardage situations. This year, Tice wants to see if he can be the full-time guy.

The loser in all of this is Williams, who was re-signed more for his special teams play and veteran leadership than his threat to Bennett in the backfield. If Bennett can live up to the expectations, Williams will spend his time on special teams and trying to fight off challenges from Doug Chapman and Onterrio Smith.

While Bennett may not end up with the "Michael Ratio" in the backfield, it sounds like a plan the Vikings are going to stick with in the early going of the 2003 season, which opens with three divisional games.

* The Sporting News print NFL preview and on-line coverage by its "War Room" have both picked the Vikings to finish second behind the Packers in the NFC North this year.
* Randy Moss was one of the speakers to the rookies at this year's rookie symposium in Palm Beach, Fla. Several veterans spoke to the new recruits about the trappings of fame and fortune.

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