Vieira returned to the Premier League from Inter Milan in January and recovered some of his form, but not enough to impress Les Bleus coach Raymond Domenech.
Former France skipper Vieira, who earned the most recent of his 107 caps in June 2009, accepted his omission with dignity.
"It's a decision I accept, although I'm disappointed," Vieira told Canal+ Sport. "I do not question his choice, I really respect.''
Benzema, who has had a less than fruitful season with Madrid, has also missed out on selection for the squad, as has midfielder Samir Nasri, whose Arsenal team-mates Gael Clichy, William Gallas, Abou Diaby and Bacary Sagna are included.
Franck Ribery, who is sweating over his participation in Bayern Munich's Champions League final with Inter on May 22 with the Bundesliga champions appealing his ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, is included.
Three members of Marseille's Ligue 1-winning squad - goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and forwards Hatem Ben Arfa and Mathieu Valbuena - are named, as are two Chelsea players, Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda.
France were drawn in Group A alongside hosts South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay, their opponents in their first game in Cape Town on June 11.
France's provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Mickael Landreau (Lille), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Rod Fanni (Rennes), William Gallas (Arsenal), Marc Planus (Bordeaux), Adil Rami (Lille), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla)
Midfielders: Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Yann M'Vila (Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon)
Forwards: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Hatem Ben Arfa (Marseille), Jimmy Briand (Rennes), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille).