Bennett to the Rams?

Former Vikings running back might find his way out of New Orleans without ever playing a down for the Saints if the trade talks with the St. Louis Rams continue to heat up in the weeks heading into training camp.

For Michael Bennett, the last six months of his life have been a roller coaster. Not in the plans for new coach Brad Childress, Bennett saw his career with the Vikings go away when the team signed Chester Taylor to a four-year deal. Looking to revive his career, his hopes of reuniting with Denny Green went up in smoke when the Cardinals opted to back up the Brinks truck to sign Edgerrin James.

Bennett finally found a home with the Saints -- or so he thought. With ailing Deuce McAllister still a question mark coming off knee surgery, Bennett signed with the Saints as insurance. But on draft day, when the Texans shocked the NFL world by passing on Reggie Bush, the USC running back fell to the Saints, in the process dropping Bennett to third string.

With his career in limbo, a former coach and future Hall of Famer have stepped in to make his future look a little brighter. The Saints are having ongoing discussions with the Rams about a potential trade for Bennett. The deal could reunite Bennett with former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan -- now the head coach of the Rams. The Rams suddenly have a need at running back since Marshall Faulk, who has been phased out of the Rams offense in favor of Steven Jackson, is scheduled to have more surgery on his own injured knee, which could result in him missing the entire 2006 season -- if not marking the end of his career.

No deal has been struck yet, as the Saints try to measure how close to 100 percent they expect McAllister to be. But, after traveling up and down the Mississippi River over the last four months, Bennett may well find himself landing in between Minnesota and New Orleans when all is said and done.

WEDNESDAY NOTES
* Bennett is back in Minnesota this week, helping out former Vikings teammate Todd Bouman at his football camp running through Thursday in Becker.
* Randy Moss has become something of an entrepeneur thanks to a smoothie shop that was close to Winter Park. While a member of the Vikings, Moss, who disdains junk food in favor of healthy alternatives, became a fan of Inta Juice -- a smoothie franchise that has more than 50 flavors. Moss became interested in buying a franchise in his home town of Charleston, West Virginia, and was so taken with the Fort Collins, Colo.-based company that he met personally with the upper management and became a strong investor -- getting himself a spot on the company's board of directors as well as giving Inta Juice more free publicity than it could ever have received through normal channels. Not only has the purchase of a franchise made local and national TV news, ESPN is planning a package on its July 4 Sportscenter as well as a story in ESPN: The Magazine -- which hits newsstands the same day.
* The NFL has added amphetamines to its list of banned substances. Any player who tests positive for amphetamines immediately gets into the substance abuse program and is subject to a four-game suspension for a first violation.
* Willie Offord pleaded guilty to DWI from an arrest April 18. He was sentenced to peform 32 hours of community service and pay a $600 fine.

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