Taylor Becomes the Workhorse Again

Chester Taylor did more than fill in for an injured Adrian Peterson. He showed he's still very capable of being a featured running back when needed.

It appears unlikely the Vikings will have rookie sensation Adrian Peterson back for Sunday's game against the New York Giants, but it's not as if the team's running game is in shambles without him.

That was proven in Minnesota's 29-22 victory Sunday over the Oakland Raiders as veteran Chester Taylor rushed for 164 yards on 22 carries with three touchdowns.

Taylor rushed for 1,216 yards last season in his first year with the Vikings but found himself in a backup role in Week 8 after it became clear Peterson's talents made him one of the NFL's premier running backs.

Peterson, though, suffered a partially torn lateral collateral ligament in his right knee in the Vikings' 34-0 loss at Green Bay on Nov. 11. While the Vikings are confident Peterson can return at some point this season, Taylor's presence certainly means the youngster doesn't need to be rushed in his recovery.

"I am not the one to start a controversy," Taylor said when asked about his role. "I know what I can do when I get in the game. I am going to play hard no matter what. Every opportunity I am going to get I am going to take advantage of it. That's how I always look at stuff."

Taylor's rushing attempts against Oakland were his most since he also carried the ball 22 times in the Vikings' 34-31 victory on Oct. 14 at Chicago. His yardage output, however, marked the first time this season he has gone over 100 yards and was just five short of his career-high 169-yard performance on Oct. 22, 2006 at Seattle.

"Chester has been overshadowed the entire year with Adrian," Vikings center Matt Birk said. "But I would take Chester Taylor on my team any time. He runs hard. He fights for every last yard he can get. He just came in and did a heck of a job."

Taylor and Co. should be in for a much tougher test at Giants Stadium. Oakland's run defense entered Week 10 ranked 29th in the NFL. New York, meanwhile, was ninth overall in the same category.

The Vikings improved to 4-6 with the victory over Oakland and also kept quarterback Tarvaris Jackson healthy. Jackson returned to the starting role after missing the Green Bay defeat.

He certainly was not outstanding, completing 17 of 22 passes for 171 yards with no touchdowns and one interception, but Vikings coach Brad Childress has made it clear he wants to see what Jackson can do in the final six games of the season.

That should give the Vikings a good idea of whether they will need to go after another quarterback in the offseason — something that looks like a strong possibility at this point — or stick with Jackson heading into next year's training camp.

The problem is that Jackson has struggled to stay healthy, missing time because of a strained groin, a broken finger and a concussion.

Sunday's game against the Giants will mark his first road game since he completed only nine of 16 passes for 72 yards in a dismal showing at Dallas on Oct. 21. The Vikings lost that game 24-14.


  • Injured RB Adrian Peterson was expected to do some running on a treadmill under water on Monday as he continues on his intense rehabilitation schedule.

  • CB Antoine Winfield returned after missing two games because of a strained hamstring but he lasted for only the first half. The team decided to rest him after he aggravated the injury. Winfield said he expects to play against the Giants.

  • S Dwight Smith left Sunday's game briefly in the second quarter after appearing to aggravate a hamstring injury that has affected him for much of the season but he was able to continue.

  • WR Sidney Rice completed two passes against Oakland for 94 yards, including a 79-yarder to tight end Visanthe Shiancoe on the first play from scrimmage. That set up a Vikings touchdown. Rice set the team mark for most yards passing in a single game by a non-quarterback; Shiancoe now holds the record for the longest reception by a tight end in team history.

  • LB Chad Greenway, who said he had never recovered a fumble in his football career at any level before this season, picked up his fourth fumble recovery of the year on Sunday.

  • TE Visanthe Shiancoe's 94 yards receiving on two receptions Sunday were a season-high for a Vikings pass catcher. The Vikings have not had a 100-yard receiver since Troy Williamson caught six passes for 102 yards in Week 2 of last season against Carolina.

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