Vikings activate RB Bennett from PUP list

Updated: October 31, 2003, 2:52 PM ET

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minnesota - The Minnesota Vikings are running away with the NFC North Division. The return of Michael Bennett may make them virtually impossible to catch.

The Vikings on Friday activated their Pro Bowl running back from the physically-unable-to-perform list, making him eligible to play in Sunday night's game against the Green Bay Packers.

Minnesota (6-1) opened the season with six wins before losing to the New York Giants last week. The Packers (3-4) are in second place in the NFC North.

Bennett underwent surgery on his left foot last spring after injuring it in a freak treadmill accident. After suffering a setback in training camp, Bennett was placed on the PUP list.

A first-round pick in the 2001 draft, Bennett rushed for 1,296 yards last season - the second-best mark in franchise history - and caught 37 passes for 355 yards.

Moe Williams and rookie Onterrio Smith helped the Vikings rank seventh in the NFL in rushing offense in Bennett's absence. Williams leads the team with 508 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per carry, and Smith added 217 yards on the ground.

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