- The Washington Times
Monday, October 21, 2019

ASHBURN — As Adrian Peterson was dragged down to the soggy grass of FedEx Field in Sunday’s 9-0 Washington Redskins‘ loss to the San Francisco 49ers, he fumbled.

Dropping the ball was an involuntary reaction, he said later, to the pain he felt when his ankle was sharply twisted in the tackle.

A day later, the 34-year-old underwent an MRI and the Redskins are now waiting to see if the seven-time Pro Bowler will be available for Thursday’s game in Minnesota.

Despite suffering the injury in the third quarter, Peterson, who rushed for 81 yards on 20 carries, played the rest of the contest.

“Tomorrow, I’ll have quite a bit more information as we decide where we’re going with personnel,” interim coach Bill Callahan said Monday.

If Peterson can’t go, it would dampen some of the intrigue surrounding the Redskins‘ upcoming game.

Though the main focus will be Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins facing his former team, fans in Minnesota were eager to see Peterson return for just the second time since his release in 2017.

With the Vikings, Peterson became arguably the best running back of his generation, winning the MVP in 2012. He spent 10 seasons with Minnesota, rushing for 11,747 yards.

Peterson’s lone game against the Vikings happened in 2017 when he was with the New Orleans Saints. That game, a Week 1 loss, produced Peterson’s famous stare-down with Saints coach Sean Payton — as cameras caught the two arguing on the sideline. Peterson finished with just 18 yards on six carries.

Over the last two weeks, Peterson has become the source of the Redskins‘ offense. When the team fired coach Jay Gruden, Callahan put an emphasis on his commitment to the run.

That delighted Peterson, who has 199 yards on 43 carries in the last two games. Peterson was inactive for Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles, as well.

Running back Chris Thompson said Thursday’s game will “be emotional” for Peterson.

“It’s going to be bigger for AP more than anybody,” Thompson said. “He had and made a lot of memories in Minnesota.”

Thompson is also dealing with an injury of his own. The 29-year-old missed Sunday’s loss with a toe injury and said he did not know if he will be to face the Vikings. The Redskins won’t practice in pads this week as they prepare a short turnaround.

Peterson’s injury, too, comes on the heels of new criticism of the grounds-keeping at FedEx Field.

49ers cornerback Richard Sherman ripped the conditions of the field after their win, comparing it to when former Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks.

Puddles of water and mud formed as rain poured throughout. Players consistently slipped as they tried to run upfield, also sliding when tackled.

“Yeah, that was as bad as I have seen,” Sherman said. “You know, I’ve played in this stadium once before in the playoffs and it was pretty bad. That’s the year (Griffin) went down with a knee injury and the field was pretty awful. It was mostly sand, like playing in the sandpit. (On Sunday,) it was rain and everything was going bad.”

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