The Vikings had just snapped a two-game losing streak, temporarily re-righted their ship (even if it was against the lowly Detroit Lions), and headed into the bye week with a 3-2 record.
After the game, Chester Taylor stood by his locker stall and assessed the first third of the season. Taylor leads the team in rushing with 421 yards and is averaging 22 caries per game. Taylor also has been a solid receiver out of the backfield for the Vikings, a big plus and check-down for quarterback Brad Johnson, but he continues to live up to the billing made when he signed with Minnesota in the offseason.
"Don't forget," Taylor warned after the win over the Lions, "this is only the fifth game of the year."
Working in the shadow of Jamal Lewis, Taylor has never been afforded the opportunity to be a team's feature back. It is one of the main reasons he left his meeting last winter with head coach Brad Childress confident that he would be a Viking.
"He told me when I came here that we were going to run the ball and that running the ball was what he wanted," Taylor said Wednesday. "What he wanted is what we are doing and everything's going as planned."
Taylor ranks 11th in the NFL in rushing yards and eighth in the NFC in total scrimmage yardage (rushing and receiving).
In the Vikings' three wins this season he has been a workhorse. Against wins over Washington, Carolina and Detroit, Taylor averaged 27 carries and 108 yards rushing. Conversely, in the two losses to Chicago and Buffalo, he has averaged 15 carries and 49 yards.
That type of workload has taken a beating on Taylor's body – he is 5-11, 213 pounds – which is why Taylor got as far away from football as possible last week during the bye.
"I had a lot of rest and tried to get away from football during my time off, that's it," Taylor said. "My body is fine. I feel good."
The season is only five games old, but Taylor is on pace to rush for 1,347 yards and 355 carries. The 355 carries would shatter the team record of 295 set by Robert Smith in 2000.
"I feel like I could do much better, but as of now things are going pretty good," Taylor said. "But I'm taking it week by week and we'll see how it goes."
Running Back Taylor ‘Going as Planned'
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