Chester Taylor showcased an Adrian Peterson move on his way to Peterson-like numbers, and he couldn't help but smile and joke after his performance. See what Taylor, Peterson and Brad Childress had to say about the performance, along with more than 40 game notes that help tell the tale of the Vikings' 29-22 win over the Raiders.
The rumors of the Vikings offense dying without Adrian Peterson
in the fold would appear to have been somewhat exaggerated. After a 164-yard rushing performance by Chester Taylor
and three touchdowns in a 29-22 win over the Oakland Raiders
Sunday, it would seem the obituary on the 2007 Vikings season might be a bit premature.
Upon entering the interview area in the underbelly of the Metrodome, where Peterson has held court much of the season, Taylor couldn't help but smile and say, "It's been a long time since I've been in here."
But this was his time to shine. With Peterson sidelined with a knee injury, Taylor was able to take advantage of his opportunity and made the most of it.
"My motivation was trying to get a win," Taylor said. "We had a horrible game last week against Green Bay. We just tried to bounce back on the right track and tried to be 1-0 this week. Luckily, we got the win today."
Taylor looked like a different runner Sunday. In fact, he made moves that reminded a lot of people of Peterson, including A.P. himself. On a play from the 5-yard line, Taylor did a leap and landed at about the 2 and drove forward into the end zone – a play he had kidded Peterson about making a few weeks earlier that drew a chuckle from his teammate.
"He said I was the only guy who would jump toward the end zone from the 5-yard line," Peterson said. "I guess I'm not the only one."
Head coach Brad Childress was equally effusive of Taylor, who clearly wasn't overjoyed to see the team draft a franchise running back in the first round of the draft, but didn't let it affect his approach to the game.
"Chester's a team guy, he's not an ‘I' guy," Childress said. "That said, running backs that are any good or receivers that are any good, they want the ball every time. He understands that Adrian is a talented guy. They pull for each other. He didn't like (taking a backseat), but he accepted it and didn't step back and sulk. He just continued to press on and we sure appreciated that."
The Vikings finished the game with 478 totall yards – 153 yards above their season average – with 228 yards rushing on 32 carries (a 7.1-yard average) and 250 yards passing. The Raiders had 372 total yards – 311 passing and 61 rushing.
The Vikings had 25 first downs – 12 rushing and 13 passing. The Raiders had 18 first downs – 15 passing, two rushing and one by penalty.
The Vikings' third-down efficiency didn't improve Sunday despite the offensive explosion. The Vikes were just 1 of 7 in third-down conversion attempts.
The Vikings had just 13 red zone opportunities in the first nine games of the season. They had four Sunday – scoring 17 points on two touchdowns and one field goal.
Daunte Culpepper's return to the Metrodome didn't result in a win, but his numbers added up over time as the Raiders abandoned the run in the second half. He completed 23 of 39 passes for 344 yards with one TD and one interception.
The Raiders' running game was stuffed by the Vikings. The team gained just 61 yards on 27 rushing attempts and featured back Justin Fargas managed just 60 yards on 23 carries.
The combination of Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry accounted for nine catches for 208 yards, but all of Curry's 120 yards came in the first half and 77 of Porter's 88 yards came in the second half.
Taylor's 164 yards rushing were just five short of his career high set last year against Seattle. It shattered the Vikings' record for rushing yards vs. the Raiders – breaking the old mark of 108 set by Leroy Hoard.
Between Taylor and Peterson, the Vikings have six 100-yard rushing days in 10 games. Both Taylor and A.P. have five 100-yard games as members of the Vikings.
Following the game, Peterson was asked if he would be ready next week vs. the Giants, and responded, "I can't talk about that right now. I'm just taking it one day at a time. Tomorrow I'm going to run on it a little bit and see how it feels."
Tarvaris Jackson had the most efficient passing day of his career, completing 17 of 22 passes for 171 yards.
Visanthe Shiancoe caught just two passes, but they went for 94 yards – a career high.
Taylor's three touchdowns were the first TD trifecta of his career.
The Vikings couldn't have been pleased with how freelt they were with giving up the ball. Aside from having an interception, the Vikings had five fumbles – losing four of them.
One of the fumbles came from linebacker Chad Greenway, who tried to return an interception in the final minutes. A sheepish Greenway said after the game, "I got up for a reason. I wanted to try to score. If I get in that situation late in the game again, I'm sure I'll just stay down."
What makes the fumbling by the Vikings even more bizarre is that the Raiders didn't have a defensive fumble recovery all season heading into Sunday's game.
With his sack that forced a fumble today, rookie Brian Robison moved into first place on the team with 4.5 sacks. Kenechi Udeze entered the game as the team leader, but now he's tied for second with Ray Edwards at four sacks.
Pat Williams finished the game with a team-high nine tackles and wasn't shy about letting people know about it, saying, "I was killing those boys out there. I was killing them. My goal was that they were not going to run the ball today. I went out there and stopped that."
While the Vikings haven't won two straight games since Oct. 22, 2006, Sunday was the first time the team has won two games in three weeks since December of last season.
Ryan Longwell and Sebastian Janikowski were tied for 26th place in scoring among kickers in the NFL with 52 points each. That might change after the two combined to score 25 points – 16 from Janikowski and nine from Longwell.
Taylor went over 100 yards on his first carry of the second half – a 29-yard scamper in which he hit Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha in the head with his knee and knocked him unconscious.
After the long stoppage of play while Asomugha was hurt, the Vikings only had 10 men in the huddle and had to call a time out to avoid losing five yards.
The Vikings were tied 19-19 at halftime despite having four turnovers to none by the Raiders.
Pat Williams led the Vikings with six tackles in the first half, as he headlined a run-stuffing crew in the first half that held the Raiders completely in check.
The Vikings maintained a massive yardage edge at halftime, outgaining the Raiders 291-176. The Vikings had 188 yards passing and 103 rushing, while the Raiders had 156 yards passing and 20 yards rushing. The Vikings held a 15:24 to 14:36 time of possession edge.
Individually, Jackson completed 12 of 15 passes in the first half for 114 yards and one interception. Wade led the team with four catches for 29 yards – among eight different Vikings who had catches in the first half. Taylor had 85 rushing yards on 11 carries to lead the run game.
For Oakland, Culpepper completed 9 of 16 passes for 174 yards with one TD (with a passer rating of 115.1) in the first half. Curry did most of the damage, catching four passes for 120 yards. Fargas had 13 carries for 23 yards.
The Vikings had just one penalty in the first half – a delay-of-game celebration penalty on Shiancoe for spiking the ball.
Antoine Winfield was injured late in the first half and did not return to the game. After the game, Winfield explained that he was going on a series-by-series basis and that the injured hamstring that had sidelined him still wasn't 100 percent, saying, "When I would turn or cut, I would feel a little bit of a burn. I'm good, but I didn't have the strength back in it. By the half, (the coaches) made the decision to sit me down."
Thanks to a pair of long receptions, Curry went over 100 yards receiving midway through the second quarter.
Taylor's 42-yard touchdown run made it the second time in his career that he had two touchodwns in a game. The other also came against a team from the AFC, having done the trick against Miami last year.
The Vikings dominated the first-quarter stats – outgaining the Raiders 194-37 – rushing for 62 yards and passing for 132, while the Raiders had just nine yards rushing and 28 yards passing.
Individually, Jackson completed five of six passes for 53 yards in the first quarter, but his only pass not caught by a Viking was an interception, which kept his passer rating low at 63.9. Rice had most of the damage with 79 yards passing on the one play. Taylor had six carries for 44 yards and a touchdown, with Mewedle Moore chipping 11 on his only carry. Shiancoe, Taylor and Wade each had two receptions, gaining 94, 23 and 15 yards respectively.
For the Raiders, Culpepper was just one of three passing in the first quarter – but it was a 46-yard completion to Curry. Fargas has six carries for just nine yards as the only Raiders runner.
Despite having the ball four times in the first quarter and running 17 plays, the Vikings offense didn't face a third-down situation until the final play of the first quarter – a sweep by fullback Naufahu Tahi that lost two yards and forced the Vikings to settle for a field goal on the first play of the second quarter.
With the Raiders threatening late in the first quarter, the Vikings defense got back-to-back sacks from E.J. Henderson and Ray Edwards. In the "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" mode, Edwards did the Culpepper trademark "roll" celebration with his arms.
The Vikings' safety on Culpepper was their first safety of the season. The defense has scored four touchdowns.
The Vikings had a chance to go up 14-0 in the game's first five minutes. Having run the ball effectively to get the ball to the Oakland 3-yard line – running three times for 25 yards to the point – the Vikings tried to cross up the Raiders with a pass. But Jackson floated the ball and was picked off by Nnamdi Asomugha in the end zone.
The Vikings scored one of their fastest touchdowns in team history, thanks to some trickery. The Vikings lined up for the first play of the game with nobody in the backfield. Taylor came in motion, took and handoff from Jackson and then flipped a lateral to Rice, who stopped and launched a strike to a wide open Shiancoe, who was brought down on the 5-yard line.
On that play, Shiancoe celebrated by spiking the ball, which gave the Vikings a five-yard delay of game penalty. At the time, it looked a huge mistake because it turned a first-and-goal play from the 5-yard line to a first-and-goal from the 10. As it turned out, it didn't matter, since Taylor capped the drive a play later with a 10-yard touchdown run.
The 79-yard pass was the longest by a Viking this year and the longest reception by a Vikings tight end in franchise history. It was also the longest non-touchdown play in team history – it ranks 11th overall and all of the 10 completions longer were touchdowns. The play also shattered the record for longest completion by a non-quarterback. Rice and Shiancoe's 79-yard hookup blew out the old record of 43 yards from Alfred Anderson to Dwight Collins in 1984.
The Vikings' captains Sunday were Taylor for the offense, Darren Sharper for the defense and Ryan Longwell for the special teams.
Culpepper led the Raiders out of the tunnel for the game, but the Vikings' public address announcer didn't introduce the Raiders offense – keeping the question open how fans would have responded to Pepp when the pregame introductions were made. Despite that, there was a mixed bag of cheers and boos when Culpepper led the Raiders onto the field.
When the Vikings were introduced, starting fullback Tony Richardson came out waving the American flag.
Matt Birk moved into a tie for second place all-time with his 101st start at center. He tied Dennis Swilley, but remains less than halfway to the franchise record of 240 by Mick Tingelhoff.
The Vikings inactives were Kelly Holcomb (3rd QB), Peterson, Ronyell Whitaker, Eric Frampton, Garrett Mills, Chase Johnson, Aundrae Allison and Jayme Mitchell.
The Raiders inactives included quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell (3rd QB) and Josh McCown, and running back LaMont Jordan. There had been some mid-week speculation that the Raiders might insert Russell in during specific games situations during the second half of the season, but clearly that wasn't the intent Sunday. Jordan, who has been suffering from back problems much of the season, was something of a surprise scratch.
The paid attendance was announced at 62,960 – the 101st straight sellout at the Metrodome.