MANKATO - The Vikings were relieved to learn Tuesday that what looked to be a potentially serious injury to running back Chester Taylor's right arm was only a bruise that likely will keep him out for a couple of days.
Taylor was injured on the second play of a live period inside Blakeslee Stadium when he took a hit after catching a pass from Tarvaris Jackson. Taylor left the field in obvious pain and was attended to by the training staff. He was then taken to the locker room on a cart and coach Brad Childress said X-rays revealed it was a bruised forearm.
Taylor, who ran for 1,216 yards last season and set a team record with 303 rushing attempts, was wearing a white elastic sleeve covering the area from his right hand to his elbow, with padding underneath as he left the locker room.
Taylor was healthy enough to ride his bike back to Gage Center following the morning and afternoon practices but declined to speak with reporters other than to say he would talk today. The afternoon session was for special teams only so Taylor would not have taken part even if he hadn't been hurt.
A strong camp
Rookie cornerback Marcus McCauley continues to impress. On a third-and-17 play Tuesday during a live-hitting portion of practice, McCauley jumped in front of receiver Bobby Wade and picked off Jackson's pass for what would have been about a 55-yard touchdown return.
It was McCauley's fourth interception of training camp to go with approximately seven pass breakups. "McCauley is usually going to make a play a day that is going to raise your eyebrows a little bit," Childress said.
Not bad for a guy who fell to the third round of the draft after a poor senior season at Fresno State.
"I told myself early in this camp I was going to take it one day at a time, one rep at a time and just trust my instincts," McCauley said. "I have great instincts, so I'm just letting them fly right now and basically talking to guys like Antoine Winfield and Dwight Smith. They said I'm going to make mistakes, that I'm a rookie. Everybody is going to make mistakes, just make them going full speed."
McCauley is behind starting corners Winfield and Cedric Griffin on the depth chart, but definitely appears to be the front-runner to win the job as the extra defensive back in the nickel defense.
Safety Darren Sharper returned after missing two days because of a shoulder injury but was held out of the contact portions of practice. Sharper said there is no rush for him to get back into the hitting periods.
"I've got 10 years of tackling," he said. "I'm going to make sure [the shoulder] is 100 percent."
Childress revealed Griffin put on some weight during the offseason, but in this case the head coach is pleased.
"I don't see some ill effects from that weight in terms of his cover ability out there," Childress said. "There's a couple of times I was kidding around with him that he looked like a pencil neck. He looked like a 187-, 189-pound corner last year. Now he weighed in to start at 204 and he is probably going to play [at] about 200 and it is all muscle mass."
Cornerback Charles Gordon, who is fighting to make the roster, intercepted rookie quarterback Tyler Thigpen and returned the ball about 65 yards for a touchdown.
Guard Seppo Evwaraye has missed the past two days because of a death in his family.