Raiders run defense to face stiff test

The Raiders might have caught a break by not having to face Minnesota rookie phenom Adrian Peterson but that doesn't mean they're out of the woods.

Chester Taylor, the veteran running back who rushed for over 1,000 yards a year ago, is capable of doing some damage against an Oakland run defense that has struggled to stop anyone this year.

"It's not like they're just throwing somebody in there," Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin said. "We're going to have to stop the run this week. It's obviously going to be a big point. Both teams (have) some similar struggling passing games and run games that have been really successful at times … but they also went in and crushed San Diego just two weeks ago at home. So the last time they were at home they played great."

Peterson has been the NFL's most impressive newcomer this season and was well on his way to earning rookie of the year honors when he suffered a torn knee ligament last week against Green Bay. Taylor, on the other hand, was in a back-up role until Peterson's injury thrust him back into the starting lineup.

The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Taylor rushed for 1,216 yards and six touchdowns in 2006 during his first season in Minnesota. This season Taylor has just 304 yards on 61 carries but is averaging five yards a carry.

Even if Taylor has marginal numbers, the Raiders can't afford to take him lightly. Oakland is just 29th in the NFL defending the run, allowing 144.2 yards a game.

Conversely, the Vikings are third against the run and are allowing only 75.9 yards a game.

"It's the two D-tackles, they're dominant players," Kiffin said, referring to Minnesota defensive linemen Patrick Williams and Kevin Williams. "They're good pass rushers, they're great run stoppers and they do play a bunch of eight-man front when they need to stop the run and they get the safeties in there.

"They play really well. Their D-line is a really good … they just play the run so physical and it presents a big challenge for us across the board up front."

-- Cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Fabian Washington both returned to practice, though Asomugha was held out of some portions of the workout. Neither played last week against Chicago but the Raiders are hopeful both will be on the field against the Vikings.

-- In a conference call to Minnesota reporters, Kiffin summed up his feelings on former Raider wide receiver Mike Williams who was released by Oakland earlier this month: "We gave him a great opportunity. I stuck with him as long as I could. He wasn't able to take it as serious as he needed to to be able to stay in this league and it's really a sad story."


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