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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Chester Taylor: Running along

    August 10, 2006

    [size=18px]Running along[/size]

    Author: Mike Wobschall, vikings.com

    Most of the talk surrounding Brad Childress' version of the west coast offense deals with the passing game. But let us not forget that the Vikings acquired free agent running back Chester Taylor to be the featured runner, All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson to pave a path for him and All-Pro fullback Tony Richardson to lead the way.

    Clearly, the Vikings are committed to sustaining a solid, powerful rushing attack in 2006 to balance an efficient passing attack led by quarterback Brad Johnson. With so many new faces on offense, the Vikings know they must mesh as an offensive unit if they are to be successful rushing the ball.

    "I see a lot of progression," Taylor said, "especially with us learning a new system. The west coast offense isn't an easy system to learn so I feel like we've come a long way since the first minicamps and OTAs (organized team activities) to now. We're building for that first pre-season game and the first regular season game. I think we're making strides every day we come out here."

    Strides are good, especially when you're running the football. Hutchinson knows what it takes to be a solid rushing team, as does Richardson. For the previous three seasons, Hutchinson has blocked for superstar running back Shaun Alexander. Last season, Alexander rushed for 1,880 yards and set the NFL single-season record for touchdowns in a season (28).

    Richardson blocked for both Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson while in Kansas City. Since 2000, the Chiefs offense has not ranked lower than eighth in the NFL and they were ranked first in 2004 and 2005. Holmes has blocked for four of the top five single-season rushing performances in Kansas City history, including Johnson's team-record 1,750 yards on the ground in 2005. He also helped Holmes establish an NFL record with 27 rushing touchdowns in 2003.

    Taylor knows the value of a good blocking fullback from his days in Baltimore.

    "We had Alan Ricard as our blocking back and he did a great job," Taylor said of his former teammate. "Jamal (Lewis) had 2,000 yards with him blocking so I'm used to having a fullback. I can run with one or without one but Tony Richardson is an excellent one to have back there."

    So far, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has been happy with what he's seen from Taylor and the offense.

    "He [Taylor] was running the ball physically, which is important to us," Bevell said. "He's done a nice job in protection and getting out of the routes.

    "Our running game is coming along. We've been able to break a few runs against our defense, and have that explosive run where you get one that breaks out over 12 yards. We've seen that. I think the backs and the offensive line are jelling together."

    Youthful receivers

    With six of the 12 receivers on the Vikings roster having two years of experience or less, training camp and the pre-season will be strong evaluation tools for coaches come cut day. Although 12 is not an excessive number of wide outs to have in camp (and is only slightly above the average number), the depth has made for a fierce competition among the pass catchers.

    "I would be lying if I said we didn't look at it as a competition because we have some good receivers out here," receiver Josh Davis said. "And with good receivers you're going to have competition and we're always out here competing with one another."

    Younger players such as Davis and Jason Carter can take this opportunity to learn from veterans like Koren Robinson and Marcus Robinson.

    "I just try to sit back and watch these veterans and try to learn from them," Davis said. "The pre-season is a big deal for us younger guys because it gives us a chance to prove ourselves. Basically, we live for the pre-season."

    Deep value

    Currently, the Vikings have five players on the second-team offensive and defensive lines that played part of the season as starters in 2005. Additions to the roster such as Steve Hutchinson and Artis Hicks, plus players like Kenechi Udeze coming back from injury, give the Vikings some depth on both lines. But Head Coach Brad Childress warns that depth may be here today, and gone tomorrow.

    "You can say you have depth, and about two seconds later you're short of guys," coach Childress said. "You go into training camp and you think you've got a lot of defensive linemen and the next thing you know you're down to two strings. Depth is a good thing. It's a great to have people that are pushing because they want to be on that first line. If they've started before, they have that game experience."

    Highlight reel

    Fred Smoot and Ronyell Whitaker were on top of their games during Thursday morning's practice. Each player made an outstanding play to break up an attempted pass during live team action. Smoot was covering Troy Williamson as he ran a short comeback route. Brad Johnson's pass was batted down by Smoot as he closed quickly on the play. Whitaker broke up a J.T. O'Sullivan pass intended for Jason Carter by diving in front of the receiver and reaching out to bat the ball down.

    E.J. Henderson, who has been having a good camp, intercepted another pass during Thursday's morning practice. On the play, Johnson was attempting a pass to a receiver across the middle. Henderson leaped up and tipped the ball, then grabbed it as he raced the opposite way.

    Quotable

    While addressing the media, coach Childress explained that the offensive line will be tested during the first pre-season game because they'll go against a live defensive line.

    "Not that our front four is chicken salad or what have you. They're pretty good," coach Childress said.

    Injury report

    Darren Sharper (lower leg) practiced in full pads today and took part in all drills.

    Bryant McKinnie (hand) took part in practice today.

    Receivers Koren Robinson (knee) and Marcus Robinson (neck) did not practice today.

    Ciatrick Fason, who suffered a concussion during yesterday morning's practice, sat out today.

    Offensive lineman Jason Whittle left practice early with what coach Childress termed a "rapid heartbeat".

    Running along

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
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    Re: Chester Taylor: Running along

    Another great read by the PP.O Anchorman.. Thanks Singers..

  3. #3
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    Re: Chester Taylor: Running along

    "VikesfaninWis" wrote:
    Another great read by the PP.O Anchorman.. Thanks Singers..
    I don't write them, I just post them.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  4. #4
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    Re: Chester Taylor: Running along

    Lookin' good to me.. I can't wait for that first series against the Raiders, both for the offence and defence.

  5. #5
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    Re: Chester Taylor: Running along

    IE.J. Henderson, who has been having a good camp, intercepted another pass during Thursday's morning practice
    I know it's just practice, but hasn't there been quite a few picks of Brads passes so far?

    Does he take more risk during practice than he would if he was in a game situation?

    I'm thinking that he would, since I don't think you're going to throw the ball away in practice.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  6. #6
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    Re: Chester Taylor: Running along

    IM NOT LIKING ALL THE INJURIES NOT ONE BIT....
    woo out
    just two corn cobs shy of a bushel

  7. #7
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    Re: Chester Taylor: Running along

    Mr Woo I do not think anyone does bud.........

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