Taylor the Vikings' top offseason decision

Chester Taylor isn't a starter, but he is a valuable piece of the Vikings offense, making him their top unrestricted free agent. He likely will garner interest from other teams as well.

There has been plenty of speculation since the season ended about what type of effort the Vikings will make to keep running back Chester Taylor.

The veteran will be an unrestricted free agent and there are certainly some teams that would be interested in having him be their starters. Seattle has been one club mentioned more than once.

Taylor has proven to be extremely valuable to the Vikings since signing a four-year free-agent deal before the 2006 season.

He was the Vikings' leading rusher in his initial season with the team, gaining a career-high 1,216 yards on 303 carries, and since then has been an extremely valuable backup to Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson.

Taylor is a better receiver and blocker than Peterson — although Peterson has improved in those areas — and thus has been used extensively on third downs in the past three seasons.

In 2009 he caught 44 passes for 389 yards and a touchdown to finish fifth on the Vikings. That came after he had 45 receptions for 399 yards and two touchdowns in 2008.

Backup running backs aren't considered all that difficult to come by, but Taylor has brought a level of professionalism to his job that would be hard to replace. This includes the fact he has never complained about his role being reduced after one season with the Vikings.

Taylor is going to be 31 in September but finds himself in a unique situation because his most career carries was 303 in 2006. He has never had more than 160 in any other regular season and that came with Baltimore in 2004.

That means a team might be tempted to sign him based on the fact his legs are pretty fresh for a player his age.

NOTES

  • There has been no word from the NFL yet on whether left tackle Bryant McKinnie will be fined for being dismissed from the NFC Pro Bowl roster. McKinnie has said he wanted to pull out of the game but that fact was not conveyed to the NFL in time and that meant in the league's eyes he was skipping practices. That caused the NFL to kick him off the team.

  • The Vikings are still waiting on Brett Favre to make his decision about the future, but they are nearly certain his position coach will return. Kevin Rogers interviewed for the Bears' offensive coordinator's job but that position went to Mike Martz.

    That means Rogers almost certainly will return to the Vikings for a fifth season as quarterbacks coach. From all accounts, Rogers is extremely popular with Favre so the fact he is staying might help sway the quarterback into returning.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Usually I'm excited to watch the Super Bowl, but this year I couldn't have cared less. I felt like, we got so close, we were supposed to win it. That should have been us. We know we could have done the same thing the Saints did in the Super Bowl, but they beat us and they're the champs." — Backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson writing on his blog about not being able to muster up enthusiasm for the Saints-Colts meeting in the Super Bowl after the Vikings lost to New Orleans in the NFC Championship game.

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