Bennett Named Starter

Rookie Michael Bennett gets his first start of his career Friday night as the Vikings RB list continues to get dinged.

Michael Bennett was expected by many to be named the starting running back of the Minnesota Vikings, but Tuesday's announcement that he will start Friday isn't so much a promotion as it is simply an elevation up an injury-filled depth chart.

Dennis Green announced that Bennett will start against the Colts because the two players who stood atop the RB depth chart at the start of training camp -- Moe Williams and Doug Chapman -- are both going to miss Friday's game. Chapman is still slowed by a thigh bruise, while Williams will miss his third straight game with a foot injury.

Because of the injuries, Bennett will play much of the first half and reserve James Wofford will move up to the No. 2 position and get his chance to show his stuff with more of the front-line players still in action.

* Despite claiming the Vikings aren't shopping on the free agent market, VU has been told the Vikings are in contact with Cortez Kennedy -- apparently the only team talking to the former Seattle defensive tackle at the moment. There is also persisting rumors that the team may look to add a veteran quarterback if Todd Bouman doesn't look better vs. the Colts. Rodney Peete, John Friesz and (ugh) Rick Mirer are names being mentioned.
* Gabe Northern may not be unemployed for long. VU has been told by a source with the Patriots that New England has contacted Northern and is planning to bring him in for a visit.
* The Ravens haven't given up on Robert Smith. After declining an offer from coach Brian Billick to come out of retirement, Smith is getting a final pitch from Ravens VP Ozzie Newsome, who has known Smith since his days at Ohio State.

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