Who Goes When Bennett Comes Back?

On the same day that John Avery goes from playing Sunday to having a four-month rehab on a previously undisclosed injury, the question now becomes which player who has been part of a 6-0 start to the season will have to suffer "an injury" to make room for Michael Bennett on the roster?

For a third straight day, Michael Bennett took part in Vikings practice and, for a third straight day, Bennett looked better than the previous day.

So much so that Mike Tice said Friday that it looks almost certain Bennett will suit up vs. the Packers -- whether he plays 15 plays, five plays or no plays was not discussed -- the question of a roster spot being lopped to make room for him has come into question.

Bennett currently has a roster exemption, but that will expire in a little over a week. What then? The conventional wisdom now is that he will simply take the roster spot opened when Aaron Elling is healthy and Jose Cortez sees his services no longer needed.

But say Elling relapses. Will the Vikes cut him to add Bennett? If not, who goes? The only player on what we're now calling the "Avery Bubble" is D'Wayne Bates. He has missed a lot of time with an injury that those in Tice's inner circle thought should have been healed by now. Sounds a little like the Derrick Alexander saga. If nothing else, the injury has turned Bates from a starter to a guy fighting both Nate Burleson and Kelly Campbell for the No. 3 job. Depth at WR is razor thin for the Vikings, but, in a worst-case scenario where the Cortez-for-Bennett spot doesn't materialize, either Bennett is pushed back a week or the Vikes have to make a tough decision.

Welcome to the backlash of success, Coach Tice.

SATURDAY NOTES
* The Vikes made it official Friday, placing John Avery on injured reserve and activating Nick Davis to the 53-man roster. Tice said Friday the knee injury to Avery is similar to that of Talance Sawyer. But, Sawyer's injury took more than a year to heal. Avery's injury is said to be a "four-month" injury -- which would have him healthy just in time for the pre-draft workout program in March. Hmmm.
* Bates was downgraded from probable to questionable on the injury report. Aside from his ailing foot, Bates tweaked a hamstring earlier in the week and made it worse on Thursday. There are some concerns whether he will suit up Sunday or be de-activated. If he is out, rookie Keenan Howry will move into the No. 4 spot. Translation: Look for the Giants to blanket Randy Moss and make two rookies and second-year man Kelly Campbell (who is also slowed with an injury) beat you deep.
* Difference between the Giants and Vikes (DBGV), Part I -- Aside from the obvious record difference, the Vikes have 16 interceptions, while allowing two. The Giants have four picks while allowing nine.
* DBGV, Part II -- Kerry Collins has a QB rating of 69.5. Only Doug Johnson, Joey Harrington, Kordell Stewart and Donovan McNabb are worse. He's going up against a defense that has allowed a QB rating of 58.3. Daunte Culpepper, on the other hand, has a QB rating of 114.8 and he's going up against a defense that has allowed a 71.2 QB rating in six games.
* DBGV, Part III -- The Giants have just two rushing TDs and seven passing TDs in six games. The Vikes have seven rushing TDs and 14 passing TDs.
* It might not be a banner day for former Packer/Redskin journeyman kicker Brett Conway. In six games, the Vikings have let opposing kickers try just nine field goals and nine extra points. To the chagrine of coaches and special teams players, despite a lack of attempts, they've made all of them.

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