With Michael Bennett likely out of the picture for most or all of 2003, Doug Chapman finds himself in familiar territory.
Chapman was drafted by Denny Green on the third round of the 2000 draft. When Robert Smith retired, Chapman was named the training camp starter, despite referring to then-first round draft pick Michael Bennett. Chapman was the starter in camp and, when the regular season rolled around, on opening day, Bennett had 11 carries for 13 yards -- Chapman had three. In his only game as a full-time player, he had 22 carries for 90 yards vs. the Packers.
Yet, the prevailing wisdom has rookie Onterrio Smith -- like Bennett two years ago -- beating out Chapman for the starting spot. Possible? Sure. Probable? Perhaps. Certain? Uh-uh.
If ever a player feels like he has a bullet to his head, it has to be Chapman. He's in a contract year, he wasn't Tice's pick, his work ethic has been questioned. But, he's the veteran back ... again.
Look for Chapman to give everything he has in the preseason. His NFL future is on the line. If he loses out to Smith like he did to Bennett, his career as a Viking might not last beyond his current contract.
Chapman On The Spot
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