8 best Minnesota Vikings running backs after their first 3 years

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Dalvin Cook /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Michael Bennett /

6. Michael Bennett (2001 – 2003)

  • 37 games
  • 517 carries
  • 2,425 rushing yards
  • 3,134 yards from scrimmage
  • 10 touchdowns

Michael Bennett joined the Vikings as a first-round draft pick in 2001. As a rookie, he led the team in rushing with 682 yards for a pass-oriented offense that included quarterback Daunte Culpepper and wide receivers Cris Carter and Randy Moss. The following year Carter would leave to play for the Miami Dolphins.

With the departure of Carter, Bennett played a bigger role in the offense in 2002. Just like his rookie season, Bennett led the team in rushing again with 1,296 yards on the ground. He also caught 37 passes for 351 receiving yards. It was by far the best performance of his career and it led to him being named to the Pro Bowl after the season, his only appearance from his 10 years in the league.

In 2003, injuries caused him to miss the first half of the season. Playing in only eight games, Bennett was limited to only 90 carries and 447 rushing yards.

With a career-rushing total of 3,174 yards for the Vikings, Bennett currently ranks ninth in franchise history.

5. Chester Taylor (2006 – 2008)

  • 45 games
  • 561 carries
  • 2,459 rushing yards
  • 3,134 yards from scrimmage
  • 19 touchdowns

Chester Taylor is the only running back in this ranking that did not start his career with the Vikings. After playing four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Taylor signed with Minnesota as a free agent and he promptly went on to have the best season in his career. He led the Vikings with 1,216 rushing yards—his only 1,000-yard season.

Unfortunately, for Taylor, his role as starting tailback lasted only one season in Minnesota as the team drafted Adrian Peterson the following year. After starting 15 games in 2006, that dropped to only eight in 2007.

A sixth-round draft pick by Baltimore in 2002, Taylor spent four seasons with the Vikings before finishing his career with one-year stints in Chicago and Arizona. His 2,797 rushing yards in a Minnesota uniform is currently 10th-most in franchise history.