Arrest Aside, Taylor Has Much on His Mind

Vikings wide receiver Travis Taylor was detained early Monday morning on three misdemeanor charges, but his long-term future might not have been with the Vikings anyway. Taylor talked about the numerous factors weighing in on his potential free agency, and they are many.

It has been an interesting two years with the Minnesota Vikings for receiver Travis Taylor.

That may have ended early Monday morning with his arrest for three misdemeanors – fifth-degree assault, disorderly conduct and interfering with pedestrian or vehicular traffic – stemming from an incident outside a Minneapolis nightclub. Taylor's refusing to obey an officer's request to make room for an ambulance led to him getting tasered.

"It was just a misunderstanding and an unfortunate situations. I was just in a limo and got pulled out," Taylor said Monday We'll discuss that later and we'll deal with the situation."

Taylor is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March.

After the 2004 season, his fifth in Baltimore, Taylor sailed through the uncharted waters of free agency and docked in Minnesota, where he joined a team that was rightly advertised as having a high-octane offensive tradition with a Pro Bowl quarterback who was destined to be a Viking for the next decade or so.

At the time, Taylor didn't say it in so many words, but his move from the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust Ravens offense to the running-on-all-eight-cylinders Vikings appeared to be the liberation of his career. But after Sunday's 41-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams, Taylor is looking around a locker room in transition with many of its players not knowing if they will stay or go.

Taylor is without question the most high profile offensive free agent on the team. This year, he led the Vikings with 57 catches for 651 yards and three touchdowns. He posted similar numbers in 2005, his first year here, with 50 catches for 604 catches four touchdowns. But he admittedly expected bigger things when he arrived in Minnesota two years ago. Who would have guessed that after seven seasons his career year – 61 catches, 869 yards, six touchdowns in 2002 – would be in Baltimore and not Minnesota even though he played in all 32 games in two years with the Vikings?

"I wouldn't say it was frustrating, but I expected Daunte (Culpepper) to be here for a long time," Taylor said. "When I first signed here I never thought that guy would be traded, but at the same time you have to move on. You play this game for the love of it and you make the best out of the situation."

Making the best out of the situation seems to be what Taylor has been doing for two years in Minnesota. In 2005, the Vikings failed miserably to meet expectations. Culpepper suffered a season-ending injury in October, the entire franchise was rocked by the sex boat scandal, the Vikings failed to make the playoffs and Mike Tice was fired less than an hour after their regular-season finale. This season, under first-year head coach Brad Childress, the offense was one of the league's worst. The quarterback situation deteriorated from Brad Johnson to Brooks Bollinger to Tarvaris Jackson. The Vikings, of course, finished 6-10 and are among the top 10 teams in the NFL Draft in April.

Clearly this was not what Taylor signed on for when he joined the Vikings two years ago.

"Most definitely, you always can say that," Taylor said. "But at the same time, you put yourself in that situation. It's on you to make that decision. It's the decision you make and you have to live with it."

Taylor struggled for reasons why the offense failed so miserably in 2006.

"The offense has a new system a new coaching staff, but that's no excuse," Taylor said. "We have to get this thing going. The defense played great all year – one of the top five defenses in the league right now – for us not to win more than six games is embarrassing to the offense."

Wide receiver has been one of the biggest disappointments for the Vikings this season. Koren Robinson was released before the season because of off-field incidents. Coincidence or not, Marcus Robinson was released on Christmas Eve, with one week left in the season, a day after a news report was published quoting Robinson's frustration with Childress. Troy Williamson, the 2005 first-round draft pick the Vikings received in the Randy Moss deal, took major steps back this year, raising speculation about whether or not he will even be back next season.

Next to Taylor and Williamson, the remaining receivers on the roster are Billy McMullen, Bethel Johnson, Martin Nance, Jason Carter, and Maurice Mann.

"You just need receivers and you have to have guys that can make plays against man-to-man at some level," Childress said.

When asked if receiver was the team's biggest positional disappointment, Childress said, "I don't want to qualify that way. I'd be remiss in jumping and saying, ‘Hey, that position.' I'll go back and look at the while deal, but not one position."

Taylor said it is too early to determine where he wants to play next year. As an unrestricted free agent, he is unsure if the Vikings want him back, will make a competitive offer, or if his career needs a change of scenery.

"I don't know right now. I'm going to take my time and think about what I want to do," Taylor said. "If this is going to be the place, so be it. We have a great group of guys. I like the guys here. They're going to play hard and fight through it. We have a strong nucleus, and a lot of young guys who love to play the game and that's all you can ask for. This is a great group of guys who wants to play and the talent is here.

"We're young. We only had one guy (Sunday) with over four years experience and that was me. When you have guys who haven't played a lot of games it's going to show."

After two years, it's back to free agency for Taylor. Even though he doesn't know what his future entails, he does know the requirements on his shopping list.

"A chance to win, a chance to contribute, and everybody always wants that ring," Taylor explained. "And that always plays a big factor into the whole situation."

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