Former Viking Michael Bennett sentenced to 15 months

Dion Caputi

Running back Michael Bennett's career turned out to be far less than what was expected after clocking a mind-boggling 4.13 in the 40-yard dash during his 2001 pro day.

Bennett, a first-round selection of the Minnesota Vikings from Wisconsin, put together an impressive sophomore season in 2002 -- earning him Pro Bowl honors. It was essentially all downhill from there, however, as his next season was marred by injuries and he was never able to return to form. After being cut by Minnesota in 2005 and bouncing around with four other teams, the former sprinter found himself unemployed in 2010.

Bennett, now 34, has found himself back in the news -- and not because of football.

According to, Bennett has been handed a 15-month federal sentence for his role in a Florida fraud scheme.

Bennett pleaded guilty to wire fraud three months prior to sentencing.

Also involved and awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to related charges are former Oakland Raiders, New York Giants defensive tackle William Joseph and former Syracuse defensive tackle Louis Gachelin. Per the report, the group allegedly cashed $500,000 in fraudulent tax refund checks.

It's always frustrating to see highly paid athletes throw great opportunities away. Unfortunately for Bennett, he now becomes nothing more than a cautionary tale to the droves of young players entering the league with high ambitions.

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