more detail from the minneapolis star-tribune below:
i wouldn't read too deeply for the greater season into it. tice is a long-time player who was probably freshly reminded of korey stringer. and once you start talking disk/spinal cord injuries... you're playing with serious stuff. not to say that either of them are fantastic picks because of the crowded backfield and tice's love of mo williams, just that i wouldn't go frothing over the mouth over mewelde or completely writing off bennett for the season as a whole as of yet.
An increasingly bizarre set of circumstances played out Tuesday at Winter Park, where the Vikings appear to have ruled out two offensive starters for the Sept. 11 season opener against Tampa Bay. One player was stunned to hear the news, while the other is concerned about issues bigger than simply Game 1.
Coach Mike Tice indicated that neither running back Michael Bennett nor center Matt Birk will play against the Buccaneers -- Bennett because of a sprained neck and Birk because of continued problems with his midsection that eventually will require surgery.
Known for his psychological games with players, Tice seemed to reach a captive audience with Bennett. Told that Tice said, "I don't see Mike being anything but an outside shot for Tampa," Bennett said: "I'm not even going to speculate on that. I don't want to even discuss it. I know that's not a question. If I can't go this week [in the third preseason game against San Diego], I'll be ready next week for Seattle. It's not even a question about the opener. I'm going to be ready to play."
Injuries cost Bennett 13 games during the past two seasons, and he is particularly sensitive about his durability. But he suffered what athletic trainer Chuck Barta called an annular tear of the ligament surrounding a disk in his neck during Friday's preseason game against the New York Jets. Barta said the injury typically sidelines a player for two or three weeks, and Tice has named Mewelde Moore the starter Friday against the Chargers -- and, presumably, against Tampa Bay.
On Tuesday, Tice said, "I'm not a doctor, but I know any time you sprain your neck or tweak your neck or have neck spasms or whatever he has, it's hard to put a guy back in there, especially a guy who has taken a lot of hits, unless he is confident in that neck."
Said Bennett: "There isn't anything going on. I can't go inside my neck and make it feel better."