2. Michael Bennett (2001 – 2005)
A first-round draft selection of the Vikings in the 2001 NFL Draft out of the University of Wisconsin, Michael Bennett established what it meant to be a running back in Minnesota during the 21st century.
His rookie year, he rushed for 682 yards in 13 games, and found a lot of success during his second year on the ground for Minnesota, gaining nearly 1,300 yards during his 2002 campaign where he started all 16 contests.
After that, Bennett missed several games due to injury and never broke 500 yards in a season again, but stuck with Minnesota through the 2005 NFL season before moving on to Kansas City, Tampa Bay, San Diego, and Oakland before retiring after the 2010 season.
Bennett made the Pro Bowl in 2002, but was never the same after his injury and the question of just how great he could have been is something Vikings fans have to continue wondering. Still, he ranks ninth on the list of Minnesota’s all-time leading rushers.