Having skilled offensive players does not guarantee offensive success. Aside from those players performing on the field, coaches must also do their part by putting those players in a position to succeed.
The Vikings have found offensive success this season thanks to many talented offensive weapons, from stud RB Adrian Peterson to rookie WR Percy Harvin. The coaching staff has put these players in a position to succeed and the players have delivered.
But sometimes lost in the Sidney Rice highlight-caliber grabs and electric Harvin kick returns is a player who, perhaps more than any other, is used perfectly by the Vikings coaching staff.
Taylor came to the Vikings in 2006, head coach Brad Childress’ 1st season on the job in Minnesota, and he quickly established himself as a quality #1 RB with 1,216 rushing yards and 6 TDs in his 1st season as a feature back. But then the Vikings drafted Peterson, and #28 quickly emerged as the league’s best RB, which in turn decreased the number of opportunities for Taylor.
But the beauty of the situation for the Vikings is that although Taylor’s number of touches have gone down, his impact and the significance of his opportunities remain vital to the Vikings success. And that’s a credit to the Vikings coaching staff.
Taylor has been an excellent change of pace back for the Vikings and he’s eased the load on Peterson during their 2+ seasons together in Minnesota. Since Peterson was drafted, Taylor has carried the ball 335 times for 1,534 yards, which averages out to 4.6 yards per carry. That’s 335 fewer times Peterson has taken a hit, yet the Vikings still got 4.6 yards per touch.
Against the Bengals on Sunday, Taylor continued to be a factor for the Vikings offense. He had 5 carries for 25 yards and 2 receptions for 32 yards. More impressive than the raw numbers, though, is the timing of his contributions.
Specifically, Taylor was crucial to the Vikings scoring on their opening possession of the 2nd half. On 3rd and 5 from the Vikings 45, Taylor’s number was called and he delivered with a 6-yard reception. On the next play, he gained 5 yards on a rushing attempt. Two plays later, after a penalty and a sack, Taylor picked up a 3rd and 12 from midfield with a 26-yard reception. On the next play he registered a 17-yard rush down to the Bengals 8.
Taylor touched the ball 4 times on that drive and gained a total of 54 yards, ultimately setting up a Peterson 1-yard TD run on the 10th play of the series and putting the game out of reach for Cincinnati. Both of his receptions came on 3rd down, one of which converted a 3rd and 12. And speaking of 3rd and long situations, Taylor leads the league in receptions on plays of 3rd and 8 or longer with 14.
The opening drive of the 2nd half on Sunday is a great example of the Vikings coaching staff putting Taylor in a position to succeed, and Taylor delivering when put in that situation.
Tags: Chester Taylor
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 7 Comments »