Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Ex-Viking Michael Bennett headed for jail

Posted by: Chris Miller under Vikings, Ex-Vikings Updated: October 27, 2012 - 1:23 PM

Michael Bennett, who made the Pro Bowl for the Vikings as a rookie in 2002 after rushing for nearly 1,300 yards, will spend 15 months in jail in Florida.

The former Wisconsin standout was sentenced on Friday.

He played five seasons for the Vikings, but after his standout second season, he was plagued by injuries and inconsistency. He also played for Kansas City, Tampa Bay, San Diego and Oakland. He was briefly with the New Orleans Saints, but did not play any games for them.

Here's the AP story on Bennett:

By Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A former NFL first-round draft pick has been sentenced to more than a year in prison for taking part in a fraud scheme.

Michael Bennett was sentenced to 15 months on Friday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud three months ago.

The 34-year-old Bennett was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2001 and played for six teams, last appearing for the Oakland Raiders in 2010.

Prosecutors say the FBI operated an undercover check-cashing store in North Miami used by Bennett, two other former football players and five others from February through April. The group allegedly cashed about $500,000 in fraudulent tax refund checks.

Former Raiders and New York Giants defensive tackle William Joseph and former Syracuse player Louis Gacheline have also pleaded guilty to related charges and are awaiting sentencing.

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