How Bad Is Bennett?

"Where'd you get that?" were the first words of Wednesday's conversation about the severity of Michael Bennett's injury between VU and a team source. When it was all said and done, the story has changed.

When VU reported yesterday that Michael Bennett was likely to miss the start of training camp with his foot injury, phones moved at Winter Park.

Less than 24 hours later, the truth could be very much worse. After acknowledging a problem, a team source of VU's told us the following:

* Bennett spent Wednesday in Charlotte getting a verdict on his injury -- described by team physicians and medicos as a minor injury following his initial surgery.
* The doctor, Robert Anderson, is considered by the NFL to be the pre-eminent foot specialist dealing with similar injuries.
* Anderson is convinced the injury is more serious than originally thought.
* Anderson is not recommending a second surgery ... at least not now.
* A second surgery could sideline Bennett for the first half of the 2003 season.
* Electing not to have surgery could sideline Bennett for all of the 2003 year.

VU has been told that the Vikings may seek another opinion before making any decisions on the short-term or long-term effects. The bottom line is that much of the speculation at draft day and minicamp that were dismissed by team officials at the time are coming true.

VU's source on this issue said the final decision will come down to Bennett. If Anderson's diagnosis is correct, Bennett may be ready to go opening day if he is willing to play through pain. If he can, his effectiveness will be monitored. If he can't, suddenly training camp battles between Moe Williams, Doug Chapman, rookie Onterrio Smith and perhaps a veteran the Vikes would bring in, take on a whole new meaning.

Viking Update Top Stories