By the time most of you read this, you likely already know about the Dolphins' Ricky Williams announcing his retirement. What you likely haven't heard is that, in the coming days, there may be a Vikings connection to this scenario.
VU was told late Saturday that the Dolphins are scrambling for a potential replacement. One name that has surfaced, according to a Dolphins source, is Michael Bennett.
The rationale behind the announcement is, as of yet, unclear. More than a couple sources close to the situation have told VU that Williams might be subject to a suspension for failing a league-mandated substance abuse policy. While the results of any NFL testing is kept under strict confidentiality, Williams' announcement -- especially the timing, just days before the start of training camp -- is being viewed skeptically.
This leads back to Bennett simply. From what VU has been told, the Dolphins are looking at teams that have available running backs -- those with depth at the position. If Williams had made his proclamation earlier in the week, players like Eddie George and/or Antowain Smith could have cashed in for more than each signed on for. With both of them off the board, VU was told that the Dolphins are targeting a half-dozen teams with depth at running back.
The story, as it has been laid out to us, is that the Dolphins are in panic mode and are willing to part with a player and a future No. 1 draft pick to fill the unexpected void. One of the teams being considered is the Vikings. With the depth of having Onterrio Smith, Moe Williams and rookie Mewelde Moore, the feeling is that Minnesota may be a team to contact on Bennett's availability.
Whether the Vikings would have any interest in making a deal hasn't been factored in. As far as we know -- and told our source -- head coach Mike Tice has big plans for Bennett this year that don't involve the Dolphins. There's a very good chance nothing will come of it, but that doesn't mean calls won't be made.
When pressed for specifics as to who the team has an interest in other than Bennett, VU was told the Ravens (presumably Chester Taylor), the Broncos (presumably Mike Anderson) and free agent James Stewart.
At first blush, some have already speculated to VU that Williams is posturing for a restructured contract. Others have said there are far more troubling circumstances surrounding his announcement. Either way, if Miami is looking for a new bell cow to the offense, it's very late in the game to be finding somebody and the Vikings are on the short list of teams that could potentially pull the Dolphins out of the fire. Minnesota interest could be a completely different story.
* VU has been told that former WWE champion Brock Lesnar will be given another workout before the team opens training camp, but it is unlikely that the team will sign him -- because it would currently force the team to cut someone already being paid on the training camp roster.
Dolphins Interested In Bennett?
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