Bennett Draft Profile



Many thought he wouldn’t be there. Many others thought the Vikings had to address defense with their first pick. Instead, with the 27th pick, the Vikings chose running back Michael Bennett out of Wisconsin.

Shortly after being picked, he proclaimed himself as always being a Vikings fan despite his uncle, Tony Bennett, playing for the Packers. The color purple brought him into the ring of Vikings fans, but the 27th pick in 2001 draft made him a Viking.

Bennett entered the draft this season after completing his junior year, his first year as a starter after spending two years behind Ron Dayne. He is a dramatically different back from Dayne. Despite only 10 games as a starter, he ranked 10th on the school’s all-time rushing list with 1,979 yards.

"I’m going to have to come in and learn some things, but I think I can play right away," Bennett said.

Bennett is an extremely quick athlete, a track athlete at Wisconsin, much in the mold of the recently retired Robert Smith. He was also an option as a kick returner in college, but the Vikings won’t likely explore him there immediately, as they look to find their starter at running back. He is often referred to as a home-run hitter, not a grinder, but not shying from contact.

He is a patient runner, waiting for the blocks to develop and similar in pass protection.

"I would probably consider a guy, a Fred Taylor or a Robert Smith-type guy," Bennett said when asked to compare himself to another player.

However, Vikings coach Dennis Green said Bennett has choppier leg motion and is quicker to reach top speed because he isn’t as tall.

"We got a gift," Green said. "We had Michael Bennett rated as the 10th player on the board … There is probably not a more explosive player on the field."

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