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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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As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

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USA TODAY Sports

As money skyrockets, don't expect Kirk Cousins to give discounts on open market

Kirk Cousins repeatedly said his free agent decision will not be just about money. Be clear, however, that money will be a huge factor in this decision. 

After the Redskins traded with Kansas City to acquire Alex Smith before the Super Bowl, it became obvious Washington will move on from Cousins. Whether that means the quarterback simply walks away in free agency or the organization attempts a highly risky tag-and-trade scenario, regardless, Cousins will throw footballs for another franchise in 2018.

Cousins wants to choose where he will play via free agency, and might even file a grievance if the Redskins do deploy a third franchise tag to control his rights.

Assuming Cousins hits free agency, a new report out of New York suggests the Jets will pay "whatever it takes" to land the passer. That could even include a fully guaranteed contract, and will certainly get close to a $30 million a year price tag. 

A notion exists too that Cousins might take less to go to a winner, and many think that could be the Broncos. Denver won five games in 2017, same as the Jets, though the Broncos have a strong defense and have been getting particularly awful QB play. 

The important thing to remember for curious Redskins fans watching the Cousins saga unfold: Don't expect much, if any, discount. 

The quarterback himself made that clear. 

"There’s other quarterbacks that come after you and it would be almost a selfish move to hurt future quarterbacks who get in a position to have a contract," Cousins said last year on 106.7 the Fan.

The quotes came after the 2016 season but before the Redskins again used a franchise tag with Cousins for the 2017 season. Washington wanted to attempt a long-term deal with Cousins at that point, though the quarterback decided to not negotiate and instead play on the tag.

The point remains that Cousins, and his representatives, believe the quarterback has a duty to other players to maximize his earnings. 

"If you don’t take a deal that’s fair to you, then you’re also taking a deal that’s not fair to them and you’re setting them back as well. So there’s different reasons. You just do the best you can."

If he hits free agency, Cousins will likely sign the richest contract in NFL history. Those opportunities don't come around often, and the quarterback should take full advantage. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

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Need to Know: Could Ty Nsekhe be the Redskins' answer at left guard?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 19, 23 days before NFL free agency starts.

Monday musings

—One possible solution to the left guard spot is perhaps being overlooked. Ty Nsekhe played there some last year, starting the game in Dallas and playing there until Morgan Moses got injured, forcing him to move to right tackle. Nsekhe is slated to be a restricted free agent but his return is likely. In December I asked Jay Gruden if Nsekhe might move to guard in 2018. “I think Ty is a big man and a very good tackle, but in the offseason when we have more time, maybe we can feature him at some guard when we’ve got all our guys back,” he said. “Feature him some” doesn’t mean that they will make him a starter; perhaps they want him to be the top option to fill in at four of the five OL positions. But it’s something to keep an eye on if they don’t land a left guard solution in free agency or the draft.

—When I posted about Albert Breer’s report that Kirk Cousins would file a grievance if the Redskins put the franchise tag on him in an effort to trade him, I pulled up a copy of the CBA to see the language on which Cousins could base his case. I read through the Article 10, which deals with the franchise tag twice and I saw nothing of it. But Mike Florio found it in Article 4, the one that deals with player contracts. “A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season.” Since the Redskins clearly have no intention of employing Cousins after the Alex Smith trade, this seems to be a fairly simple case. In reality, it never is.

—I tweeted this last week:

However, possible cap casualties from other teams are not included in that group. That won’t turn the pool of players who will become available to sign into a bunch of potential franchise changers. Still, there could be a number of players in whom the Redskins could be interested in like RB DeMarco Murray, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Torrey Smith, edge rusher Elvis Dumervil, and DL Brandon Mebane. A plus to signing players who have been waived is that they don’t count in the formula that determines compensatory draft picks. The Redskins have never really paid attention to that in the past but with potential high comp picks at stake if they lose both Kirk Cousins and Bashaud Breeland, this could be a good year to start.

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 10
—NFL Draft (4/26) 66
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 202

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