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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Vikings make a run at a new offensive style & Taylor bears the load


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

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    Re: Chester Taylor: Balancing the attack.

    A great way to start the day with reading a good article about the Vikings thanks.

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    Re: Chester Taylor: Balancing the attack.

    Posted on Fri, Sep. 15, 2006

    [size=13pt]Taylor bears the load[/size]

    Running back impresses teammates with workhorse effort in Vikings debut
    BY DON SEEHOLZER
    Pioneer Press


    The Vikings' coaches told Chester Taylor they were going to run the ball Monday night at Washington, and they were true to their word.

    The game plan didn't call for 31 carries, but after four seasons as Jamal Lewis' backup in Baltimore, Taylor isn't about to complain about being overworked.

    "I've been waiting to be the main guy, basically, and just coming out here and helping my team any way I can to win a ballgame," he said. "It pays to be patient, and that's what I was."

    Taylor saved his best for last in the 19-16 victory over the Redskins, gaining 34 of his 88 yards in the fourth quarter, including 26 on the drive that set up Ryan Longwell's game-winning, 31-yard field goal with one minute remaining.

    Taylor's 2.8-yard average was subpar by NFL standards, and the running game still is a work in progress, but the effort was appreciated by his teammates.

    Center Matt Birk: "Not the 31 carries so much but just how hard he ran. There were a lot of times when his second effort was huge. He moved the chains. He was running hard. You can appreciate that as an offensive lineman. He's a guy you enjoy blocking for."

    Quarterback Brad Johnson: "It's hard to do that. It just takes a beating on your body. What he does a great job of is he hits the hole hard. He breaks initial contact. It's usually the second or third guy who tackles him. He's very slippery, whether it's running the ball or catching it and making a guy miss."

    Fullback Tony Richardson: "I think it hopefully answers a few of the questions about him. Is he a guy that can carry the load? I think he showed that he could. Now he still has to show he can do it for 16 games. I think he can."

    Not surprisingly, so does Taylor, who set a Vikings opening-game record for carries and fell just two short of the team single-game record.

    The 31 rushes were a career high for Taylor, who had a 25-carry game against the New York Giants in 2004 for the Ravens. Taylor said he appreciated the way coach Brad Childress stayed with the run on a night when the yards were tough to come by.

    "We knew that was how it would be throughout the game," Taylor said. "We had to just keep grinding on, and coach Childress stuck with it and we wore them down in the fourth quarter. They're a great defense, but we had to wear them down, and that's what we did."

    That's a twist on recent seasons for the Vikings, whose previous response to falling behind early on the road was to shift into an all-out passing mode that often made a bad situation worse.

    Monday night was a sign that, for this team this season, things might be different.

    "Just given that we kept on running it gave us a chance to stay balanced," Birk said. "The coaches didn't panic; the players didn't panic. We just stayed with the game plan, and in the fourth quarter things finally started to work."

    That's basically the same game plan the Vikings used to post road wins over the Giants, Green Bay and Detroit during the second half of last season, after Johnson replaced injured Daunte Culpepper.

    The formula worked well enough for the Vikings to win seven of their final nine games, and Johnson, for one, is a true believer.

    "If you get down early and start getting into a passing frenzy, you're in trouble," he said. "If you look at the history of the game, if you start throwing 36, 37 times, no matter who you are, no matter what quarterback or what team, high school or college, you're probably going to lose. If you're coming from behind, you're probably going to turn the ball over. If you're not turning the ball over, you've got a good chance of winning."

    Taylor could be in for another busy day Sunday against a Carolina defense that ranks last in the NFL against the run after being trampled for 252 yards in a 20-6 loss to Atlanta and will be playing without middle linebacker Dan Morgan, who has a concussion.

    Taylor, though, says he expects to get the Panthers' best shot.

    "They're picked to go to the NFC championship this year," he said. "They had kind of a rough game last week, but we're not going to take them lightly at all. We know they're a great defense. We just have to bring our A game with us."

    And if Plan A is to keep giving the ball to Taylor, he and his blockers said he will be ready.

    "Thirty-one carries are a lot, but he's a workhorse," tight end Jim Kleinsasser said. "He can handle it."

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

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    Re: Chester Taylor bears the load

    [size=13pt]Vikings make a run at a new offensive style [/size]

    Updated 9/15/2006 12:29 AM

    Vikings running back Chester Taylor had 88 yards on 31 carries during the team's first game. He was the first Minnesota back to run more than 30 times since Robert Smith did so in 1995.

    By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY

    LANDOVER, Md. — Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson called the new-look Minnesota Vikings run game, "a work in progress."

    New Vikings running back Chester Taylor got his team off to a promising start in his debut as an every-down back.

    The former Baltimore Ravens backup to Jamal Lewis was the clock-chewing, chain-moving workhorse whose 88 yards and a touchdown helped spark Minnesota's 19-16 season-opening Monday night victory against the Washington Redskins.

    Brad Childress' successful head coaching debut was notable for its strong commitment to the run game. Taylor's career-best 31 carries marked the first time a Vikings running back exceeded the 30-carry total since Robert Smith did so in 1995. It's been 10 years since a team built to take advantage of its Metrodome home has relied so heavily on a pounding running game.

    "This is what they brought me here for," said Taylor, who signed a four-year, $14.1 million deal in March. "This is what I've been waiting four years for."

    Childress wanted the Vikings stronger up the middle. The club signed former Kansas City Chiefs fullback Tony Richardson, who served as Priest Holmes' lead blocker the last five seasons. They pried Hutchinson away from the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks with a seven-year, $49 million deal.

    With the return to health of four-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk, the Vikings have a strong interior and look to build on their opening ball-control show. Against Washington, they balanced 34 runs with Brad Johnson's 16-of-30 passing for 223 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown toss to Marcus Robinson.

    "Our offense linemen said, 'Keep grinding it out. The fourth quarter's coming, and we're going to wear them out,' " Taylor said. "That's what happened."

    The Vikings could be one of those sleeper teams in much the same way Taylor, 5-11, 213 pounds, could be a sleeper free agent signing. He is stronger and shiftier than he looks.

    Taylor carried for 40 of his 88 yards in the fourth quarter. His 26 yards on eight carries set up Ryan Longwell's winning, 31-yard field goal with one minute left.

    "He ran extremely hard and was very patient," Richardson said. "Chester reminds me of Priest Holmes. You look at him from the outside, and he doesn't look quite that big. But you see him with his shirt off, he's put together pretty well and has the heart of a lion."

    The comparison is apt considering Taylor's former Ravens teammates used to call him "Little Priest," referring to Holmes, who started out as an undrafted free agent with the Ravens.

    The run game is all about commitment. Despite just 32 yards on 11 first-half carries by Taylor on Monday, Childress stayed with the run, and his offensive line rewarded his faith.

    "You have to stay after it," Hutchinson said. "The running game is a process in this league. It takes a full game to run the ball. Very seldom are you going to rack up 100 yards in the first quarter."

    Taylor had eight carries for 26 yards on the 11-play, 54-yard winning drive.

    "Our offensive line played tremendous," Johnson said Monday night. "That defense is not one that you want to face every week. They did a great job of protecting me, and Chester did a great job of staying with the run. He closed the game out for us, did a great job of picking up the blitz and getting the extra yards after initial contact."

    It's a promising start for Taylor and the work-in-progress Vikings, who host the 0-1 Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

    "I'm excited for what we did and for what we'll be able to do in the future as a football team," Richardson said.

    Posted 9/14/2006 10:31 PM ET

    Updated 9/15/2006 12:29 AM ET



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

  5. #5
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    Re: Vikings make a run at a new offensive style & Taylor bears the load

    After his first game Taylor is averaging 2.8 yards per carry, while his avgerage was 4.4 ypc over the previous 3 years.

    Once the line gels, I'm hoping he gets back to 4.4 ypc or better

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

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    Re: Vikings make a run at a new offensive style & Taylor bears the load

    "singersp" wrote:
    After his first game Taylor is averaging 2.8 yards per carry, while his avgerage was 4.4 ypc over the previous 3 years.

    Once the line gels, I'm hoping he gets back to 4.4 ypc or better

    I am pretty sure that will be the case.. As the team plays together, it will trust one another and everything will fall in place.. Chester Taylor proved on Monday night, that he can carry the load and be a productive starting RB..

  7. #7
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    Re: Vikings make a run at a new offensive style & Taylor bears the load

    "singersp" wrote:
    After his first game Taylor is averaging 2.8 yards per carry, while his avgerage was 4.4 ypc over the previous 3 years.

    Once the line gels, I'm hoping he gets back to 4.4 ypc or better
    Dont count on it in the first 3 games!Remember that we play 3 top 10 defenses in a row I think chesters breakout game for the vikes will be @ the bills in week 4....

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