The Next Bennett?

The Vikings got a show a week ago from another Australian Rules Football kicker, and current Vikings punter Darren Bennett thinks his fellow countryman has a good shot at the NFL. The Vikings were one of three NFL teams to watch the Aussie kick.

On Oct. 19, the Vikings hosted Australian Rules Football player Ben Graham, who's been touring the U.S. and showing off his skills to NFL teams, hoping to land a training camp invitation next season. Graham, who turns 31 in November, is a 12-year veteran with the Geelong club of the AFL, and current Vikings punter Darren Bennett thinks Graham could be the next Aussie Rules player to join him as a punter in the NFL.

"He's got to work on his consistency and also his form — it's something that's a little bit different from Aussie Rules," Bennett said. "It took me about a year to learn it, but he's got all the tools and I think there will be someone ready to give him a shot."

When asked about the difference in styles between the two forms of kicking, Bennett said, "When I kicked a shot for a goal in Aussie Rules, I used to get off 14 steps, so it takes awhile to condense that down and still achieve the same power. Ben's definitely got the power. His leg strength is definitely there, so with a little bit of extra work he'll definitely be one of the guys who can do it."

Graham's Geelong coach, Mark Thompson, told the Herald-Sun of Sydney that when Graham tried out for the Patriots, Giants and Jets — his three stops before coming to Minnesota — the teams pulled out all the stops in trying to convince him to leave Australia.

"He is being treated like a king over there," Thompson said. "They're all chasing him like crazy, flying him here and there. He's getting picked up in limos, getting tickets to the games … he is very much in demand."

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