With running back Adrian Peterson out for at least Sunday's game against Oakland because of a partially torn ligament in his right knee, veteran Chester Taylor will return to the starting role he lost to the rookie three games ago.
"That's what backups do," Taylor said when asked if he relished this opportunity. "They've got to step up when the starter goes down and just have to continue to work hard."
Taylor isn't your average backup, although it's a role he certainly was familiar with at one time. In March 2006, Taylor signed a four-year, $14.1 million free-agent contract with the Vikings after spending his first four seasons as the backup to Jamal Lewis with the Baltimore Ravens.
Last year, Taylor served as the Vikings' primary runner and rushed for a career-high 1,216 yards on 303 carries with six touchdowns in 15 games. Peterson's arrival as the seventh overall pick in last April's draft altered things.
Coach Brad Childress made it clear early this season that Taylor remained his starting running back, but Peterson's fantastic start, and the realization that the rookie wasn't getting enough carries, eventually led to a change. In the past three games, Peterson has 61 rushing attempts and Taylor only 18.
Childress admitted Monday he was impressed with how Taylor took the news of his demotion.
"He handled it like a man," Childress said. "There is nobody more competitive than Chester is and it's a quiet kind of fiery competitiveness. Did he like it? No. Did he accept it? Yeah. ... He has come to work every day and he has still been a great resource for Adrian."
Said Taylor: "It's my job. Whatever helps the team [and is] best for the team to win. They felt that Adrian gave them a special spark and I felt he did, too. He was doing a great job of running this year, and hopefully I can continue to step up like I always do."
Jackson to start
Childress indicated he will start Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback against the Raiders. Brooks Bollinger made his first start for the Vikings in Sunday's 34-0 loss at Green Bay, completing 16 of 26 passes for 176 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Jackson sat out after suffering a concussion the previous week against San Diego.
"It's good to have the guy back that you put out there as your starter," receiver Bobby Wade said. "It's going to be an important week of practice as far as getting on the same page, and him preparing himself for this game."
The Vikings had about 3,500 tickets remaining Monday afternoon for Sunday's game at the Metrodome. The team has until noon Thursday to sell those tickets or the game won't be seen locally on WCCO (Ch. 4). The 3,500 figure is about 1,000 more than the Vikings had left the Monday before their Nov. 4 contest against San Diego. For that game, WCCO had to help buy tickets to avoid a blackout.
Cornerback Antoine Winfield, who has missed the past two games because of a hamstring injury, did some running Monday and expects to return against the Raiders. ... Rookie defensive end Brian Robison is expected to wear a brace to protect the elbow he sprained against the Packers.
Entering Monday's game, the Vikings were ranked 29th in total defense and were last (32nd) against the pass. The Vikings' defense had been 22nd entering Sunday. The Vikings' passing offense, meanwhile, was 31st in the league, ahead of only the 49ers.