Bennett On the Block?

Denny Green's love of Michael Bennett kicks in once again as the summer turns to the fall of the year.

Denny Green referred to Michael Bennett as a "gift from God" when the Vikings took him in the first round of the 2001 draft. While Vikings fans may have preferred Deuce McAllister, who went shortly before Bennett in the draft, Denny never wavered on his belief.

His relocation to Arizona like so many other former Minnesota residents hasn't changed that. Ever since he took over as head coach in Arizona, Green has been interested in reuniting with Bennett, but, when trade talks fell through before the 2005 draft, it looked as though the only chance Green and Bennett would hook up again would be if he signed as a free agent following this season.

But that may not necessarily be the case. VU has been told that the Cardinals have sent out feelers for a potential in-season trade for Bennett. In the last year of his contract, Bennett will likely not be franchised at the end of the season and, if he becomes an unrestricted free agent, the Vikings would receive no compensation.

However, with Onterrio Smith gone for the year, if Bennett were to be traded, the running game would be left in the hands of second-year man Mewelde Moore and rookie Ciatrick Fason. That in itself might be enough to prevent a trade from going through -- unless the Cards are willing to package Marcel Shipp as part of a trade -- but at least it's something for Vikings fans to mull over.

* The early Vikings injury report lists Nate Burleson and E.J. Henderson as doubtful, even though neither are expected to play Sunday.
* On the good news side of that equation, Sam Cowart, Darren Sharper and Kenechi Udeze are all listed as probable.
* Recently acquired Melvin Fowler took about halft of the first-team snaps at center in Wednesday's practice, adding to speculation that he might be in line to replace Cory Withrow in the starting lineup -- as early as this week.
* The Vikings plan to help their struggling offense by sending offensive coordinator Steve Loney into the coaches booth Sunday. If that happens, look for assistant coach Corbin Lacina and injured center Matt Birk to help the offensive line on the sidelines.
* The Vikings signed DE Eric Coleman to the practice squad Wednesday. To make room for him, the team cut offensive lineman Shannon Snell.

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