Giants’ Barkley on whether he will be the same player after injury: ‘No doubt in my mind’

Saquon Barkley and Adrian Peterson first met on Oct. 28, 2018, when Peterson scored two touchdowns and Barkley totaled 111 yards from scrimmage in Washington’s 20-13 victory against the Giants in MetLife Stadium. The two stellar running backs came together at midfield following the game and expressed their mutual admiration and Peterson told the then-rookie, “the sky’s the limit for you.”

Before retreating to their respective locker rooms, the future Hall of Famer had four words of advice for Barkley: “stay focused and keep grinding.”

More than two years later, that counsel has become particularly poignant to Barkley.

On Sept. 20, he suffered a serious knee injury in the Giants’ second game of the season. Barkley underwent surgery on Oct. 30 to repair a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. He spoke publicly today for the first time since that operation on a Zoom call with reporters when he was asked if he has any uncertainty about becoming the same player he was before the injury.

“No doubt in my mind,” Barkley said.

That confidence comes from his dedication to an arduous rehabilitation and his determination to return to the level of play that made him the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and the first player in Giants history to exceed 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons. It also emanates from the example Peterson set nine years ago.

On Dec. 24, 2011, Peterson, then a fifth-year pro with the Minnesota Vikings, tore his ACL and MCL in a game in Washington. He ended his season with 970 rushing yards, his first season with less than 1,000.

Peterson more than made up for it in 2012, when he led the NFL with a career-high 2,097 yards and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, still the last non-quarterback to win the award. Now with the Detroit Lions in his 14th season, Peterson has 14,660 career rushing yards and 115 touchdowns – including 7,908 yards and 51 scores since his surgery.

It’s no surprise Barkley would like to emulate Peterson’s on-field exploits.

“Someone who’s really important to me would be A.P.,” Barkley said. “Obviously, when you hear this injury, the first person that comes to your mind is the season that A.P. had. I reached out to him or he reached out to me. He put me in contact with his trainer, I was able to ask him a lot of questions. Also, I think the day before surgery, I got to chat with A.P. for a very long time. I could see myself continuing to chat with him throughout.”

The post-injury production of Peterson and numerous other running backs has helped convince Barkley he will be the same dynamic player he was before his surgery.

“That’s the mindset,” Barkley said. “I’m never going to go in it with a negative approach. I feel like you should never go into anything in life with a negative approach. I think a positive mindset is going to be the thing that helps you get through a lot of things in life. That’s the mindset I’m going to have. I know that I’m going to be able to come out and be a better player. That’s what I’m going to challenge myself with. I know that starts with today.”

Though he exudes confidence, Barkley made no grandiose promises or boasts. He wouldn’t say when he expects to return to optimal health.

“No target date in mind,” he said. “Just coming every single day trying to get one percent better and continuing to trust in the medical staff and the trainers here.”


But Barkley admits it has been difficult being a spectator. After 625 touches in his first two years, he had just 19 rushing attempts and six receptions before the injury ended his season.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” he said. “Just the fact that the game that I love and been playing since I was seven is taken away from me a little bit. That definitely is challenging. But I’m just trying to be as supportive as I can. I love seeing my guys out there balling, doing their thing, especially the way we’re playing right now. That definitely makes life a lot easier. I have a lot of great people in my corner, with my family, my friends staying with me and pushing me through. That’s really the focus.

“Yes, I’m a competitor and I would love to have this over yesterday. But that’s not the case, so just have to come with that mindset of taking the same approach as I would if I was on the football field, trying to get better every single day, taking that into rehab.”

Barkley is heartened by the Giants’ recent success, three consecutive victories, as they prepare to play the Seahawks Sunday in Seattle. That includes the improvement of the team’s rushing attack, which initially struggled without Barkley, exceeding 100 yards just once in the first five games. But the Giants have exceeded that figure in each of the last six games, the team’s longest such streak since 2010. Wayne Gallman has rushed for 293 yards and six touchdowns in the last five games.

“Wayne Train, I’m so proud of him,” Barkley said. “He’s playing amazing. Not only him, but Alfred (Morris), EP (Eli Penny), the offensive line, they’re playing amazing. I remember after the Steelers game, when obviously, I guess you could say the run game wasn’t so pretty (totaling 29 yards in the season opener), I remember talking to the offensive line right there and saying, ‘We know what we have here. We’re going to get this thing figured out.’

“Honestly, I wish I was able to be a part of it. But I’m still part of it, to be completely honest. That’s my mindset. I’m still part of it in a way. But to see those guys open up those holes and seeing the running backs run in a way that Wayne is running is honestly amazing. It’s really helped the team.”

Barkley said he is “doing pretty well” mentally and emotionally while acknowledging that challenges lie ahead.

“I imagine there are going to be some more dark places coming up,” he said. “I would say really, probably the darkest time for me was right when it happened. Even though it wasn’t diagnosed what it was, I kind of had a feeling what happened. Obviously, that kind of brings you to tears. It’s tough in that moment. I know how hard I worked. I know how hard we worked as a team and what I wanted to help this team do this year, and I knew that was all taken away at that moment.

“But kind of have to suck it up. You can’t cry about it too long. You can’t complain about it too long. You have to move on. Everything happens for a reason. I have to have that mindset. Like I said, I have amazing people in my life, an amazing team and an amazing staff here and teammates and all those guys who help me and are continuing to help me get through this.”

So is the example set by Adrian Peterson.


Vikings’ Cousins: ‘We need to have the best second half(of season) we possibly can’

After going 1-5 in their first six games, it appeared the Minnesota Vikings were going to have a long season. However, last week, Minnesota went into Green Bay and defeated the Packers, and on Sunday, the Vikings(3-5) continued their strong play as they beat the Lions(3-5) at home 34-20.

Against the Packers, it was all about Dalvin Cook, who had four touchdowns against Green Bay, and on Sunday against Detroit, Cook continued his strong play as he ran for 206 yards and two more rushing touchdowns.

In the last two weeks, Cook has 369 yards rushing yards, a team-record through two games. Also, Cook is the third player in team history to rush for 200-plus yards in a game. The last Vikings RB to rush for over 200 yards is Adrian Peterson, who was on the opposite sideline with the Lions on Sunday.

As he did last week, Cook gave credit to his offensive line.

“You talk about confidence, and you talk about just building from last week like I said, them guys up-front, they are going to go home today with a lot of confidence that we can run the football,” Cook said. “That’s what it’s all about with me. giving those guys up front and my guys that are blocking for me a lot of confidence, and I think we got the confidence going into Monday Night Football.”

After their second straight victory, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer believes his team is gaining confidence.

“Well, when you’re sitting there at 1-5, everything is collapsing,” Zimmer said. “You’re getting ready to jump off the cliff. You beat Green Bay, and then you start to get a little juice. You beat Detroit, and now you start getting a little bit more juice. I think the confidence level helps. I think continuing to play well gives us confidence that we can do these things against good football teams. And Detroit’s a good team, they really are. Maybe they weren’t their best today, but It was a good win.”

According to Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, who threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, the next eight games will say a lot about Minnesota. 

“Well, coming out of the bye at 1-5, my thought process was, ‘We have ten football games left, guaranteed to us.’ Those ten are probably going to tell the story more than the 1-5 start, so I’d say the same with eight left,” he said. “The second half is going to tell the story far more than the first half, so we need to have the best second half we possibly can, and that starts with a tough opponent in Chicago, on the road on Monday Night [Football].”

Minnesota is playing some good football right now, and if they continue to get big-time play out of Cook, maybe, just maybe the Vikings can turn this season around. We’ll see if the strong play continues against Chicago next Monday night.

Adrian Peterson on Redskins and playoffs: ‘We’re in the hunt’

The Washington Redskins kept their playoff hopes alive after beating the Jaguars 16-13 in Jacksonville on Sunday. With the victory, the Redskins(7-7) are one game behind the Cowboys(8-6) in the NFC East, who were shutout today by the Colts 23-0, and a 1/2 game behind the Vikings(7-6-1) for the final wild-card spot.

Next week, Washington travels to Tennessee to battle the Titans on Saturday.

“At 7-6(7-7), we’re right there. We’re in the hunt.” Redskins RB Adrian Peterson said after the game. It’s all about refocusing on Monday and getting ready for a good Titans team. On the road again, but we have the guys in the building to get it done.”

Redskins WR Jamison Crowder, who had four catches for 46 yards on Sunday, is happy to have a shot at the playoffs.

“We’ve had to overcome a lot.  At the same time, it’s football,” Crowder said. “We’re right in the mix of it.  You just have to keep going. We’re glad to be in the mix, and some teams can’t even say they’re in this position.”

While the Redskins are still in the mix, they will need some help to win the NFC East or get a wildcard spot, which TE Vernon Davis recognizes.

“Hopefully, we will get some help from other teams and keep this playoff push going,” Davis said.

The Redskins showed some fight today, but their offense with QB Josh Johnson running the show, struggled today and will probably continue to struggle. Washington last two games won’t be easy(@Titans, Eagles). Furthermore, they are going to need teams to lose if they want to make the playoffs, so while they are still alive today, it’s still an uphill battle for the Redskins moving forward.

Marcellus Wiley on Skins: ‘They’re taking an advantage of a suppressed division right now’

After defeating the Buccaneers on Sunday, the Washington Redskins moved to 6-3 and are two games up on the Cowboys and Eagles in the NFC East.

While the Redskins are on top of the NFC East, some question how good they really are, including former NFL player and Fox Sports’ Marcellus Wiley.

“Man, I hate to be that guy. You only beat who is on the field, but it’s a suppressed division. We know that,” Wiley told TMZ Sports. 

“Dallas is trying to figure out which way is up. Obviously, Philadelphia is having a hangover from last year. And, you look at the Giants, man, Eli at the quarterback position not living up to the standard. Obviously, his best days behind him.

“Yeah, they’re taking advantage of a suppressed division right now.”

Washington’s offense is not very prolific. Led by QB Alex Smith and RB Adrian Peterson, the Skins are 27th in points per game(19.6), but their defense has played well this season. The Redskins are allowing 19.4 ppg, which is fourth best in the NFL.

We can question the Skins all we want, but it’s all about wins and losses, and at this point, Washington has beaten the teams they needed to beat. Four of the Redskins’ six wins have come against teams with losing records. However, next Sunday, Washington have a tough test against the AFC South leading Houston Texas at FedEX Field, which will help us learn a little bit more about this team

I believe Philly has the most talent in the NFC East, and we will find out how true that is as Washington has to play the Eagles two times in their final seven games. They also have to play the Cowboys again, who they beat back in October.

In the end, those games will probably determine who will win the NFC East.

Saints trade Adrian Peterson to Cardinals

Adrian Peterson’s time in New Orleans did not last very long.  Peterson was sent to the Arizona Cardinals for a 2018 sixth-round pick, according to Adam Schefter.

The Cardinals hope Peterson will be able to replace injured RB David Johnson(wrist).

Peterson has been on record as being unhappy with his role with the Saints. He had this to say after Week 1:  “I didn’t sign up for nine snaps, though.”

Peterson, 32, has rushed for 81 yards in only 27 carries with New Orleans.

In order to add Peterson, the Cardinals waived RB Chris Johnson.



Adrian Peterson to the Saints?

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, former Vikings’ RB Adrian Peterson is close to a deal with the New Orleans Saints.  The deal, according to Rapoport, could be for more than three million dollars in 2017.

Peterson, 32, missed 13 games in 2016 due to injury.

Peterson to visit Patriots on Monday

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, former Vikings’ RB Adrian Peterson will be visiting the Patriots on Monday. Peterson, 32, previously visited the Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots have had a dream off-season (Cooks, Gilmore, Allen); signing Peterson would be the cherry on top.