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Vikes' Fason patiently waits his turn

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings' decision to sign free agent Chester Taylor last March sent a clear message to Ciatrick Fason that his chance to become a No. 1 running back would indefinitely be put on hold.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings' decision to sign free agent Chester Taylor last March sent a clear message to Ciatrick Fason that his chance to become a No. 1 running back would indefinitely be put on hold.

But that setback couldn't have prepared Fason for the eight-game stretch he would spend with absolutely no opportunity to contribute as a member of the Vikings' inactive list. And so as Fason waited and wondered for much of this season, he sought advice from his best friend on the team and a guy who knows all about being buried on the depth chart: Taylor.

"I asked him all the time,'' Fason said. "He was like, 'Your time will come.' He told me just to be patient, go out there and do what I do and just work hard. That's what I've been doing.''

It paid off Sunday when Fason replaced the injured Taylor and rushed for 75 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown in the Vikings' 23-13 loss at Chicago. Fason's attempts and yardage total were career highs. But not everything went according to plan. In the fourth quarter he was tackled in the end zone for a safety.

Taylor, who suffered bruised ribs in the second quarter and had to come out in the third because of the pain, remained on the sideline to offer his support. "The biggest thing is that when Ciatrick was out there playing, Chester was his biggest fan," said injured fullback Tony Richardson, who also has given Fason plenty of encouragement. "There is no dissension there.''

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Taylor likely will be listed as questionable on Wednesday on the first injury report of the week for Sunday's game at Detroit. If Fason does assume the No. 1 job this week -- Mewelde Moore appears set in his role as the third-down back -- he certainly will turn to Taylor for more advice.

The two struck up a friendship during training camp and became even tighter when they were assigned to room together on road trips. Fason said they often discuss a variety of subjects, and that Taylor consults with him during games. "Ever since training camp, all the other running backs would be like, 'That's the B.F. group.' They call us the best friends,'' Fason said. "We just stick together. It feels good to know that Chester has rushed for 1,000 yards and he's asking me for advice.''

Part of this camaraderie could be because Taylor knows what it's like to be in a backup role. He spent most of his four years in Baltimore behind Jamal Lewis, never getting more than 160 carries in a season and watching Lewis rush for 2,066 yards in 2003.

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