After opening the season as the Vikings' No. 1 running back, Michael Bennett has become the team's forgotten man.
Benched in the second quarter of the Vikings' Week 2 loss in Cincinnati after losing two fumbles, Bennett was on the field for two fourth-quarter plays in the Vikings' 33-16 victory over New Orleans on Sunday.
Bennett was handed the ball on both occasions, gaining a total of 4 yards before departing. Mewelde Moore got the majority of the work against the Saints, carrying 23 times for 101 yards. It was the Vikings' first 100-yard rushing game of the season.
"I thought I would play a little more," Bennett said. "For me (it's important) to keep my head up, keep my confidence and just keep battling through it ... just stay focused. I've been in this league for five years; I've been here this long, and ... I'm a pro. So, I understand the business part of the game. My thing is to keep my head up, stay healthy and look forward to the future."
That future certainly does not appear to be in Minnesota. The Vikings reportedly talked to the Arizona Cardinals last week about a deal involving Bennett. He is in the last season of his contract and at this point it appears the Vikings would have little interest in keeping him.
"I don't know, it's too early to say," Bennett said when asked about his future. "I'll leave that to those who have the power or have the control. But I'll be back, it's no issue right now."
Moore, who leads the Vikings with 130 yards on 31 carries in three games, has another opportunity to establish himself as the Vikings' top running back. He impressed in 2003 as a rookie, rushing for 339 yards over a three-game span, but a sprained left ankle slowed him for much of the second half of the season.
Moore sprained the same ankle this preseason and did not have a rushing attempt in the season opener against Tampa Bay.
"Mewelde Moore runs hard; he has to take his game to the next level and finish drives," coach Mike Tice said. "He has a long way to go; he made a number of mistakes like everyone did. ... But he has a lot of talent. He's smart, he's tough. He has a knack for breaking tackles. He has a strong lower body, and he has a desire to be good, so it was a plus for us to get him going in there."
Bennett Could Be Forgotten Man
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