Vikings' Taylor now has company in backfield Print
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Tuesday, 22 May 2007 22:34
NFL Headline News

 EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -Chester Taylor got all he wanted - and more - in his first season as a starting running back last year.
He rushed for 1,216 yards after being signed by the Minnesota Vikings, serving as the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal year for the offense.
But he also racked up some bruised ribs that kept him out of a game in Detroit in December and what the injury report called ``overall body soreness,'' a condition brought on by the pounding that comes with setting a franchise record with 303 carries.
``You don't want to break the carries record,'' fullback Tony Richardson said. ``That's not a record you want. You might want to break the yardage record or touchdowns, but you don't want to (set the record for) carries. You won't last in this league.''
With that in mind, the Vikings drafted a thoroughbred in April to take some of the load off their workhorse. When Oklahoma star Adrian Peterson fell to them at No. 7, the Vikings saw a chance to duplicate a two-back system that Indianapolis, Chicago, New England and New Orleans all used with great success last season.
In his first public comments since Peterson was drafted, Taylor said Tuesday that he welcomes the new kid in town and doesn't feel threatened by the flashy addition.
``They said they were going to give me some help so, all it does is add on depth to our running back crew,'' Taylor said. ``So if I go down, I'm confident these guys can take over and do the job.''
By ``these guys,'' Taylor means Peterson, who brings some much-needed big-play ability to a unit that generated too few highlights during a 6-10 season.
Coach Brad Childress said he envisions using both backs at the same time on occasion this season, making it harder on opposing defenses to key in on just one guy, as they so often did last season.
And the coach doesn't expect any problems from Taylor, whose soft-spoken demeanor is a contrast to the primadonna complex that seems to afflict many starting running backs.
``Chester is fine,'' Childress said. ``Chester's a competitor. ... I talked to him after the draft. He's taking care of his business. He knows it's a competitive league and for Chester Taylor, anything that helps us win, he's going to be happy with.''
Richardson got to know Taylor well after spending a season as the lead battering ram through the hole, with Taylor right on his heels.
``Chester's not a big ego guy, he never has been and I think he can coexist,'' Richardson said. ``The thing about it is both of these are good quality young men. It's not like Adrian is coming in here saying, 'I'm the big dog on campus.' He's very humble and just wants to get to work and help the team win.''
Peterson and Taylor met in person for the first time this week, and both said they are eager to work with each other and didn't expect any riffs.
``I'm a laid back, chill type of guy who stays very humble,'' Peterson said. ``I'm just here to compete and work hard.''
He looks forward to learning the ropes from Taylor, who seems equally open to a mentor-type role.
``He's a young guy. He looks up to me, being a vet,'' Taylor said. ``I'm going to help him through all the tough times and whenever he gets stuck, I'm going to help him out.''
Taylor knows that Peterson will help him as well, absorbing some of that pounding that made Taylor so sore in December.
And in a copycat league, if the setup is good enough for the Bears and Colts, who rode two running backs into the Super Bowl, it's good enough for the Vikings.
``The two teams that represented the two conferences in the Super Bowl - Indianapolis and Chicago - had the two-headed monster and used it very effectively,'' Richardson said. ``The faster we can get AP up to speed with Chester, it's going to help us along the road.''
 

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