Taylor-Peterson Ready for 1-2 Punch

The unveiling of the Chester Taylor-Adrian Peterson backfield combination is set to showcase Sunday afternoon. See what each of the running backs had to say about the split backfield and the season opener. Plus, get other notes and quotes from Winter Park Wednesday.

The 1-2 punch of Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson is about to set sail.

Vikings fans will have to wait until Sunday to begin to see how it will all unfold, but each of the two principle characters is eager to see how it plays out as well. Like the media, the players say they aren't informed of how much they will be used either.

"We just go with the flow, whatever number is called we just try to go make plays to help our team win this week," said Taylor.

Head coach Brad Childress said he knows how he wants to use the two running backs, but it will also be dictated by how the game is going.

"I know how they are in the game plan, what plays we think this guy is going to be in for and what plays we think that guy is going to be in for," Childress said. "If a guy taps himself on the head and has a 25-yard run or he gets hit and comes out, those best laid plans, then the other guy has got to be able to run that play if that's what you've got called. Yeah, I've kind of got a mind's-eye picture of how many times and on what plays they are going to touch the football."

The sixth-year pro had the biggest season of his career as the Vikings' featured running back last year, rushing for 1,216 yards on 303 carries – both career highs – after spending the first four seasons of his career primarily as a backup to Jamaal Lewis in Baltimore.

The workhorse mentality for Taylor was never more apparent than last year's season opener, when he rushed 31 times for 88 yards – only a 2.8-yard average. After taking a pounding in the first half of the season, his workload decreased dramatically at the end of 2006. He was inactive for a Dec. 10 game against Detroit and rushed fewer than 18 times in each of his last four outings.

Some might think it would be a relief for Taylor that he is expected to split carries with Peterson and therefore reduce the wear and tear on his body compared to 31 rushes in last season's opener against the Washington Redskins.

"It ain't a relief. Last year we got the win (against Washington) and that's the most important thing," Taylor said. "It's always good to have depth in your running back corps. It's a long season and playing running back is the most physical position. So depth in the running backs is always good."

Peterson, who said his only pregame ritual before the opener will be to pray, said he considers Taylor a mentor who has taught him a few things about how to be a professional.

"Chester is a great running back. He's taught me a lot. I feel like we can go out there and get some things going and make it difficult for our opponent," Peterson said.

The Vikings know what Taylor can do after his first season with the team, but they used Peterson extensively in the preseason. He was the most worked running back of the group, rushing 30 times for 146 yards (4.9-yard average), compared to Taylor's 13 carries for 73 yards (5.6-yard average).

Taylor said this season should go more smoothly with a return of the same coaching staff, schemes and players.

"It's a lot easier because you've got players you've been with and a year under my belt. It's coming along real smoothly right now," he said. "We got the running game accomplished a lot and the passing game. Hopefully we can carry it into the regular season."

Peterson believes the aggressive Atlanta Falcons defense that he has viewed on film bodes well for his prospects on Sunday in the Metrodome.

"They've just got a fast-flowing defense and sometimes that can get you in trouble," Peterson said of the Falcons. "Me, I like to pound the rock."

The main goal for both players is getting wins and working their way toward the playoffs, and that all begins with Sunday's season opener.

"If you can't get up for the first game, you don't need to be playing. This is our first regular-season game, so to start off 1-0 is real big," Taylor said.


  • Safety Mike Doss (calf) and linebacker E.J. Henderson (illness) each missed the earlier portion of practice Wednesday that is open to the media.

  • Head coach Brad Childress called the Falcons a very talented defensive team, especially praising defensive tackle Grady Jackson and cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Childress also said Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino is a "very creative guy" on offense, expecting that Atlanta will often employ three or more receivers on the field and try a number of different formations, as well going with a no-huddle offense.

    "I expect them to throw us curveballs. I expect them to roll personnels. I expect them to be no-huddle, I expect them to be four wides, five wides, if they get an opportunity," Childress said. "You understand where he came from in the Big Sky Conference; there is a lot of 51-49 games out there and defense was not at a premium. That's his background and you can see it come through on tape as well."

  • Childress declined to say who had won the starting jobs at right guard and right tackle, saying he didn't have to declare that ahead of time. Ryan Cook has won the starting job at tackle, he told the Associated Press. The Vikings don't have any plans to bring in a veteran offensive lineman from outside the organization, Childress said.

  • The Vikings are dedicating Sunday's home opener as "Heroes Day" in honor of the victims and the affected families of the 35W bridge collapse. The Vikings will present a $100,000 check to "Minnesota Helps – Bridge Disaster Fund" and donate more than 1,100 tickets to the victims' families. Vikings alumni and Ring of Honor inductees will be collecting donations at each entrance of the Metrodome to be used for flood and tornado relief in Minnesota.

  • According to Childress, the Vikings don't have any plans to pursue safety Nick Sorenson any further, at least at this point.

  • The Vikings haven't heard anything from the league office regarding a possible suspension of defensive tackle Fred Evans, who missed part of training camp sorting out legal issues in Florida and Texas.

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