The Vikings are frustrating some fans with their insistence on using Chester Taylor a lot instead of giving primary carries to Adrian Peterson. But it's the right move. Adrian Peterson should be this team's dominant football player for the next decade, and the Vikings must not use him up.
Consider Earl Campbell. Campbell was one of the greatest running backs to ever play football, yet the Houston Oilers got just three great and two good seasons from Campbell. Consecutive seasons of 368, 373, and 361 carries just wore him down.
Consider Terrell Davis. Davis, too, might be one of the greatest running backs to ever play football, yet the Denver Broncos got just three great and one good seasons from Davis. In the Broncos' two-year run of winning Super Bowls, Davis carried the ball an incredible 951 times in regular and post-season games, and the rest of his career was destroyed with injuries. Davis and the Broncos might argue that it was worth it to win Super Bowls, but had the Broncos mixed it up more, Davis might have had a long, dominant career in Denver.
Football Outsiders has found convincing data showing that overusing running backs diminishes their effectiveness. We want Adrian Peterson running wild for the Vikings for the next ten seasons. That means that in the game against the Bears when Peterson was going bananas breaking off long runs, it's just fine that Chester Taylor got 22 carries and Adrian Peterson got 20. The Vikings shouldn't use up Adrian Peterson so that by 2011 he's effectively finished; they should use Peterson effectively so that by 2016 he's still a great football player.
It will be good for the Vikings in 2007, too. Mixing it up with Taylor and Peterson means that Peterson will be fresh and running hard in the fourth quarter. It also means that Peterson can be fresh and running hard in November and December.
I love Adrian Peterson, and I want to see him get the ball a lot; it's a joyous experience watching him break long, spectacular runs with quickness, cutbacks, moves, and speed. But I also want to see him get the ball a lot in a long, dominant Viking career.