Besides the obvious kicking battle, there are a still a few tight fights for a starting spot or…
Taylor Now a Starter?
Taylor, who had been a top-10 draft pick, was mired in QB mediocrity in his career with the Ravens. In his five-year career, his quarterbacks included Trent Dilfer, Tony Banks, Elvis Grbac, Randall Cunningham, Jeff Blake, Chris Redman, Anthony Wright and Kyle Boller. Last year was the first season he never had two or more QBs in the same year.
Assuming that eight was enough in Baltimore, Taylor signed a cap-friendly deal with the Vikings, hoping that hooking up with a Pro Bowler like Daunte Culpepper would help his cause. But, when he arrived, there were many who had him buried on the depth chart, behind Nate Burleson and Marcus Robinson and, by midseason, probably behind rookie Troy Williamson.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the sidelines -- Taylor has done just about everything he's been asked to perfection. His main positive has been that he is very adept with the Vikings' base formation using two tight ends. It was a formation he ran for years as the Ravens fed the ball to Priest Holmes and Jamal Lewis. His ability to block as well as beat coverage when the Vikings throw out of that formation has propelled Taylor into the starting lineup.
Mike Tice said following Friday's game that Taylor has earned the spot and will likely remain in it when the Vikings go with two wide receivers, and Robinson will be the first option when the three-receiver set is used.
Everyone from Tice to Culpepper on down has stressed that the post-Randy Moss era would incorporate many different players into the equation. It looks like you can add Taylor's name to that list.
* You could tell that Vikings personnel like Tice, Culpepper and Nate Burleson are getting a little sick of answering questions about Moss. When interviewed by CBS both on tape and live during Friday's game, the questioning in each instance started out talking about Moss. It's a nice tribute to a player who so dominated the game that, even when he's gone, he's all the media wants to talk about. Hopefully, that talk will slow down when the rest of the Vikings show they can succeed without No. 84.
* The Blaine City Council announced a one-year moratorium on construction plans on or around the proposed Vikings stadium complex. This isn't expected to have any major impact on the future of a stadium in the area, but it does prevent other companies from coming in and trying a land grab of some kind to cash in on the potential new neighbors.
* From the New Song and Dance Department comes this: A VU peep that covers the Buccaneers sent us an item quoting former invisible man Chris Hovan as saying he's getting the best coaching in his short stint with the Bucs than he ever had in his career with the Vikings. However, despite the coaching largesse possessed by the Bucs coaching staff, his first-game numbers seemed ominously Hovanian -- no sacks, no tackles, no assists.
* For you Randy Moss blunt fans, the next blue moon isn't going to come until June of 2006, so Moss may have to wait awhile to light up again. Expect the NFL league office to plan a random drug test for the morning after the blue moon.
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