Who Will Run the Ball in '04?

Last year when Michael Bennett broke his foot, fans were in panic mode. A year later, the Vikings may actually be too deep at the RB position to keep everyone happy.

The Vikings have spent the last few years consistently among the NFL's top rushing teams. While many people think of the Vikings only in terms of big passing plays from Daunte Culpepper to Randy Moss, the rushing game is at or the near the top of the NFL without a go-to star.

Michael Bennett has breakaway speed, but also has a breakaway foot that has some wondering how he will hold up to the pounding. The good news is that he likely won't have to.

As VU is hearing it, the current plan is to have Bennett run the ball 15-18 times a game, with Onterrio Smith spelling him for approximately one drive per half and getting eight to 10 carries a game. Moe Williams will remain the third-down and short-yardage back and will likely get five to eight carries a game. Waiting in the wings is rookie Mewelde Moore, who has already signed and is expected to be used in spot duty as both a rusher and receiver.

If the projections hold up, the Vikings plan to run 30 times or more per game. Whether that holds up is yet to be seen, but, while other teams are fearing the Vikings offense because of the ability to put up huge numbers offensively, don't be fooled. The Vikes will prefer to play smashmouth ball and drive the football down the opponent's throat in the running game -- then go deep to Moss to burn them for a quick seven points.

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