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Need to Know: First look at Redskins-Vikings matchup

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Need to Know: First look at Redskins-Vikings matchup

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 5, two days before the Washington Redskins visit the Minnesota Vikings.

Nickel coverage

Five things you need to know about the Redskins-Vikings matchup:

1. Quick, who has rushed for more yards this season, Adrian Peterson or Alfred Morris? OK, trick question, it’s Peterson but not by much. The Redskins’ back that everyone thinks is having an off year due to being underutilized has gained 686 yards on 133 carries, a 5.2-yard average per carry. Peterson has 20 more carries and has 711 yards, just 25 more than Morris. That comes to a 4.6-yard average for Peterson. LeSean McCoy of the Eagles leads the NFL with 777 yards but he and the other two runners with more yards than Peterson and Morris, Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Charles, have not yet had their bye weeks. Peterson and Morris have.

2. The Vikings’ QB carousel has swung back to where it started the year. Christian Ponder is likely to start against the Redskins, having survived two attempts to unseat him as the starter. Matt Cassel got a couple of starts and the Vikings’ only win. After Cassel suffered an injury they gave the ball to Josh Freeman, who had been picked up just a couple of weeks before he started against the Giants. He was awful and now it’s back to Ponder. He got a less than ringing endorsement from head coach Leslie Frazier after the loss to the Cowboys. “As we speak, I don’t see why we would make a change,” Frazier said, via the Pioneer Press and Pro Football Talk. “Sometimes after ballgames you make emotional decisions, but I don’t see anything that tells me he shouldn’t start against the Redskins.”

3. The Vikings’ defense has been consistently bad. They rank 29th in yards allowed in 30th in points given up. They haven’t give up fewer than 23 points in any game and have yielded over 30 points five times. Defensive end Jared Allen is occupying just over $17 million in cap space and he has returned 4.5 sacks.

4. Neither team practiced on Monday but due to the game being just three days away they still had to file an injury report based on what the status of players would have been if they had practiced. Eight Vikings would have been held out of practice including starters DT Letroy Guion (chest/knee), OT Phil Loadholt (concussion), S Jamarca Sanford (groin), and TE Kyle Rudolph (foot). It is certain that Rudolph will not play; he suffered a fractured foot against the Cowboys and is expected to miss a month. In addition starters CB Chris Cook (hip) and CB Josh Robinson (chest) were hypothetically limited.

5. Rudolph is the Vikings’ second-leading receiver with 30, one behind Greg Jennings. Rookie Cordarelle Patterson has made a splash returning kickoffs with two touchdowns but he has yet to make much of an impact as a receiver with 16 catches for 146 yards.

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Stat of the day

—According to Pro Football Focus, the Redskins had no dropped passes against the Chargers and missed just six tackles.

Timeline

—Days until: Redskins @ Vikings 2; Redskins @ Eagles 12; Monday night 49ers @ Redskins 20

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:05; Player availability, Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan news conferences after practice (approx. 1:15).

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Shanahan talks about “hectic” short week

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN 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!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

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. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

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Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the 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!