Taylor leads Vikings' win

MINNEAPOLIS -- With Adrian Peterson watching from the sideline in a sweat suit, Chester Taylor gave him plenty to cheer for. Taylor had 202 total yards and three touchdowns, sending the Minnesota Vikings past former teammate Daunte Culpepper and ...

MINNEAPOLIS -- With Adrian Peterson watching from the sideline in a sweat suit, Chester Taylor gave him plenty to cheer for.

Taylor had 202 total yards and three touchdowns, sending the Minnesota Vikings past former teammate Daunte Culpepper and the Oakland Raiders 29-22 on Sunday.

"I ain't the one to start no controversy," Taylor said. "I knew I could do what I did in the game. I'm going to play hard no matter what, and if I get the opportunity I'm going to take advantage of it."

Peterson was out with a minor knee injury, so Taylor did his best impression of the heralded rookie. He rushed 22 times for 164 yards, and Minnesota (4-6) pressured Culpepper into a costly turnover and four sacks.

"Chester has been overshadowed the entire year with Adrian, but I would take Chester Taylor on my team any time," center Matt Birk said. "He runs hard. He fights for every last yard he can get."


The Vikings turned the ball over four times in the first half, and Sebastian Janikowski followed their fumbles with three of his five field goals. He couldn't, however, prevent Oakland (2-8) from losing its sixth straight game.

To Minnesota fans, Culpepper looked strange in silver and black, wearing his white No. 8 jersey instead of the purple No. 11 he donned here as a starter for six up-and-down seasons highlighted by three Pro Bowl appearances and plenty of touchdown passes to Randy Moss.

This looked familiar, though: The Raiders were trailing 22-19 at the Minnesota 14 late in the third quarter, when Brian Robison crunched Culpepper in the pocket and forced the ball out of his hand.

Chad Greenway recovered, and Taylor soon followed with his third touchdown to make it 29-19.

"We've got to minimize our own mistakes and make teams beat us," Culpepper said. "We can't beat ourselves and we can't put ourselves in tough positions."

Culpepper completed 23 of 39 passes for 344 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His last-second heave into the end zone was batted down by Minnesota, after Tim Dwight's false start at the Vikings 36 cost the Raiders five yards and probably an extra play because of the mandatory 10-second runoff.

Defensive tackle Warren Sapp called out Dwight for his penalty and the rest of his teammates for their self-destructive actions during a profane tirade afterward.

"I'm going to be where I'm supposed to be when I'm supposed to be there," Sapp said. "I'm going to know the snap count. I'm not going to jump offside on a spike play. Where the hell are you going? That makes no sense. Just when you think you've seen it all in 13 years, here's something else."


Culpepper hit a couple of long passes to Ronald Curry and fired a perfect strike to tight end John Madsen for a 10-yard touchdown early in the second quarter that cut Minnesota's lead to 12-10.

He faced a heavy rush, though, and wasn't given much of a chance to throw at all. Oakland insisted on running Justin Fargas -- he had 60 yards on 22 carries -- between the tackles where Vikings stalwarts Pat Williams and Kevin Williams play. Nineteen of Culpepper's attempts came in the fourth quarter after the Raiders had fallen behind by 10 points.

"I thought Daunte was a warrior today," coach Lane Kiffin said. "I thought he played really well."

Taylor, smaller and shiftier than Peterson, played just like the featured back he was until Peterson fell to the Vikings on the draft board last spring. He touched the ball eight times in the first quarter and picked up five first downs, then scored his second touchdown on a 38-yard scamper to make it 19-13 Minnesota midway through the second quarter.

Tarvaris Jackson had the most efficient game of his young, so-far-unimpressive career, despite an interception and a lost fumble.

Taylor and Bobby Wade each lost fumbles in the first half, too, but Minnesota had enough pride to make up for that and respond to last week's embarrassing shutout loss at Green Bay.

The Vikings started strong, with a 79-yard reverse pass on the game's first snap from rookie wide receiver Sidney Rice to wide-open tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. Taylor scored from 10 yards out on the next play, and the Vikings outgained the Raiders 194 yards to 37 in the first quarter. They picked up a safety when Culpepper was called for intentional grounding in the end zone with Robison taking him down.

"At some point, football's going to end for everyone of us in our career, and I don't think anybody would've liked to have been marked by last week's performance," Coach Brad Childress said. "It's important to get these opportunities. Nothing is promised forward. Coaching, playing, you never know."


NOTES: Both teams lost their top cornerbacks to injuries, Nnamdi Asamouga (concussion) for the Raiders and Antoine Winfield (hamstring) for the Vikings. Winfield aggravated the injury that kept him out of the previous two games. "He probably could have kept going, but we just didn't think that was smart," Childress said. ... Oakland's starting right tackle, Cornell Green, hurt his ankle and Kiffin said the injury could be serious. ... Taylor's career high is 169 yards rushing, last year in a win at Seattle.

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