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Peterson's remarkable recovery not surprising

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Peterson's remarkable recovery not surprising

When Adrian Peterson walks into FedEx Field on Sunday, it will no doubt be an emotional moment for the Vikings’ running back.

The last time he played there, Peterson left the turf seated on a cart, his season – and perhaps his livelihood – in jeopardy. An MRI later revealed the four-time Pro Bowl selection had suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee after a hit from Redskins safety DeJon Gomes.

Injuries such as the one Peterson suffered can often derail a career or, at the very least, diminish productivity. But he beat the odds and returned to the Vikings’ lineup for Week 1 – more than two months sooner than the majority of players who sustain similar ligament tears.

“If you hold your head down during [difficult] situations,” Peterson said on a conference call with Washington area reporters this week, “it doesn’t help the process. It was a little bit tough at home on Christmas [the day after the injury], but I just had to change my mind frame and head in the direction I had set for myself.”

Not only has Peterson recovered faster than most, he’s 95-percent of the player he was prior to the injury, Minnesota Coach Leslie Frazier estimates.

“He’s pretty close,” Frazier said. “If you ask him, he’ll probably say he’s about 5-percent away from being where he needs to be. The runs he’s made the last couple of weeks tells me that he’s real close to being the Adrian that we’re so familiar with.”

Peterson enters Sunday’s game ranked seventh in carries (96) and eighth in rushing yards (420) for a Vikings’ team that’s off to a surprising 4-1 start.

Through the first five games of 2011, Peterson averaged 4.5 yards per carry. The 27-year-old is averaging 4.4 this season.

“He’s still explosive. Still making all the cuts. Still running hard,” Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield said. 

A year ago, Peterson had already missed three games with an ankle injury when his fifth NFL campaign took a sharp – and painful – turn for the worse in the Vikings’ eventual 33-26 victory over the Redskins. He was carrying the ball into the end zone when Gomes hit him on the side of his knee in the third quarter.

Peterson still looks away when video of the injury is shown on television.

He also said he doesn’t hold a grudge against Gomes.

“I don’t think anything was done intentionally,” Peterson said. “He was just out there playing ball and it happened. I don’t have anything against him.”

Redskins’ safety Madieu Williams, who played alongside Peterson as a member of the Vikings from 2008-2010, said Peterson’s dogged determination is the biggest reason for his remarkable return.

“Knowing the work ethic he has and dedication he has for the game of football,” Williams said. “It doesn’t surprise me at all.” 

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Need to Know: Is there a surprise coming for the Redskins defensive coordinator job?

Need to Know: Is there a surprise coming for the Redskins defensive coordinator job?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 22, 95 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 38
NFL free agency starts 46
First Sunday of 2017 season 231

Sunday morning quick hitters

Talk that Greg Manusky is the favorite to get the promotion to Redskins defensive coordinator seems to be based more on deductive reasoning than from any reports from Ashburn. I think he is likely to be the guy but I’m not sure that there won’t be a surprise selection for the job.

The four-year, $42 million contract extension the Rams gave WR Tavon Austin will set the market for DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. Both of their expiring contracts averaged about $8 million per year so they could be in line for healthy raises the year after turning 30. As in other sports, the market is often set by what your dumbest competitior is willing to pay. 

I didn’t give a second thought to leaving DeAngelo Hall off my projection of the defensive roster for the coming season. He said that he would be willing to redo his contract, which calls for him to make $4.25 million this year. That’s fine but I think that the organization will look at the 32 games he missed in the last three seasons combined and decide that they can’t keep a player that they can’t rely on at any price.

How hot is Jay Gruden’s seat in 2017? Assuming he keeps his quarterback, I think that he will be fine with a 10-win season and he will be toast with double-digit losses. The tough call will be if they finish 8-8 or even 9-7 with a playoff miss.

There was a lot of talk about how the Redskins’ salary cap spending on defense last year ($36 million) was dwarfed by what was spent on offense ($78 million). As of right now, the Redskins’ spending is about even, with $57.3 million going to offense and $59.2 million to defense. We’ll see how even the expenditures wind up being when the season starts in September.

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In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 7 worst play of 2016

Giants at Redskins, Week 17

4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10

Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing all season. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!