Chester Taylor: Serious isn't same as sullen

  • Article by: KEVIN SEIFERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 8, 2007 - 2:33 PM

One Vikings back's work was beyond grand last season (1,216 yards), and teammates say he's not as upset about it as he seems to be.

His expression screams SOURPUSS as the lights flash and the camera clicks. Chester Taylor doesn't want to be here, doesn't want any part of this photo shoot on a rare night off this summer at Vikings training camp.

At least, that's what he wants you to believe. Because every now and then, you catch him glancing at the instant Polaroids. He's wondering how he'll look. (He can check the front of this section to find out.)

Winston Churchill once referred to Russia as "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." Chester Taylor isn't too far behind.

From a distance, he appears moody and intentionally soft-spoken, part of the reason his 2006 season was among the quietest 1,216-yard efforts in recent memory. Taylor insisted that "I'm just not a verbal person," but teammates confirm his dour countenance is often an act.

"I tell him he acts like he has a whole bunch of siblings," said left tackle Bryant McKinnie, one of his closest friends on the team. "He might seem lost in the shuffle. But there is always one child that needs all the attention. That's the one he is. He's waiting for you to give it.

"Sometimes he'll come in here like he's had some kind of mood swing and ignore everybody because he wants somebody to ask what's wrong."

Taylor's sense of humor is an acquired taste, to be sure. During a rainy training camp practice last summer, for instance, a reporter was having a hard time balancing his umbrella, notebook and cell phone in two hands.

About two hours later, as players walked past the media and into the locker room, Taylor looked over and said, "Looked like you needed some help out there."The first time you meet him," coach Brad Childress said, "he's a man of very few words. But he does have a twinkle in his eye. He does have a personality, albeit a dry sense of humor. He's quick-witted."

Said McKinnie, "Sometimes you might not even realize what he said was a joke for a long time."

No one was laughing, however, when Taylor reported to Minnesota for offseason workouts in 2006. After four seasons as a backup in Baltimore, Taylor had signed a five-year contract to be the Vikings' new No. 1 tailback.

With the Ravens, Taylor had watched as starter Jamal Lewis enjoyed the fruits of a class system that limited his responsibilities in practice; Taylor wrongly assumed the same policy would apply to him with the Vikings.

"We all work the same here," he said.

Expending more energy — in practice and games — than ever before, Taylor broke down after Week 13. He had nearly doubled his career high for offensive touches, and he managed only 140 total yards in the final month of the season.

After an offseason focused on improving his eating habits and elevating his weekly recovery regimen, Taylor reported this summer with a much better understanding of the pounding that lies ahead. Childress called Taylor's work ethic "miles" ahead, and running backs coach Eric Bieniemy said, "He's learned to be a professional."

The arrival of rookie tailback Adrian Peterson will reduce his load regardless of conditioning, but Taylor has taken no chances. His primary goal is to eat well enough to maintain his playing weight of 213 pounds throughout the season; it had fallen noticeably by the end of last year.

"Last year was my first year as a starter," Taylor said, "and I know I have to take care of my body a lot better. During the week between games, I need to do the right thing. I need to get in the cold tub, I need to lift the weights. Because your body is your temple."

Taylor was in typical form on that warm night this summer, when Peterson joined him for the end of the photo session. Peterson, smooth and comfortable in the spotlight, laughed and grinned effortlessly.

But Taylor was working overtime to maintain the grimace. He still looked unapproachable, maybe even a little mean, when suddenly he lost it: a smile, ear-to-ear, with a long exhale.

  • related content

  • Adrian Peterson: Sublime, yes, but also subtle

    Saturday September 8, 2007

    The Vikings see those moves and that speed, too, but they look even closer than the rest of us, and then their top draft pick looks even better.

  • Vikings season preview: A two-headed monster?

    Saturday September 8, 2007

    The personnel structure all but dictates that, like Lola and Forrest Gump, the Vikings will run and run and run this season.

  • Vikings history: Two backs at a time

    Saturday September 8, 2007

    19613-11 record, 135.5 rushing yards per gameKey backs: Hugh McElhenny and Mel TriplettMcElhenny 570 rushing yards, 37 receptions; Triplett 407...

  • How other teams split up the carries

    Saturday September 8, 2007

    The four teams in last season's conference title games — Indianapolis, Chicago, New England and New Orleans — successfully used...

  • COACH SPEAK Running backs coach Eric Bieniemy broke down Chester Taylor with staff writer Judd Zulgad. Between the ears: "Blue-collar football player. One thing about Chester is he's going to give you all he has. Plays extremely hard, doesn't take anything for granted. In my opinion, pound for pound, one of the toughest players on this football team. ... [Taylor is] very, very smart. In fact, for him to make a mistake it's like, 'Oh, Chester made a mistake, that's unlike Chester.' But very, very intelligent. Very polished." Toughness: "He's a tough in-between-the-tackles runner. He can catch the ball out on the perimeter and can make it happen with his feet in space. To me, Chester epitomizes what a complete back can do. And that's what I like about his game. He brings a complete package." Hands: "Very good hands. Very, very good." Speed: "Here's what you have to understand. Chester is more quick than he is fast. A lot of people try to talk about his speed, but Chester hits the hole probably faster than anyone from point A to point B. One thing with Chester, what he lacks in speed, he makes up with his vision by having great feet in between the tackles and can make things happen by getting it upfield, quick, fast and in a hurry." Desire: "Very passionate. Has the heart of a lion."
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Chicago Cubs 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Cincinnati 0
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda 12:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Colorado - J. Lyles 2:45 PM
San Francisco - Y. Petit
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Atlanta - M. Minor 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. Niese
Cleveland - C. Carrasco 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - J. Danks
Minnesota - T. Milone 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Texas - N. Tepesch 7:10 PM
Houston - C. McHugh
Oakland - S. Gray 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Atlanta 5:00 PM
Detroit 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 6:00 PM
Kansas City 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 6:00 PM
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:30 PM
New England 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 7:00 PM
Denver 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
San Francisco 7:00 PM
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 6:02 PM
Boise State 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 7:00 PM
Temple 8:15 PM
Rutgers 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question