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Sacramento Kings

Adrian Peterson intends to play for Vikings vs. Colts

The Minnesota Vikings running back told Dash Radio on Friday that he intends to play this week against the Indianapolis Colts.

“Being out there confirmed I’m ready to roll,” Peterson said, via the Star Tribune. “I’ve had my head in the playbook.”

The Vikings would need to make a corresponding move to activate Peterson to the 53-man roster.

All Day has been out since Sept. 18 with a torn meniscus. He returned to practice this week.

The Vikings could certainly use a boost on the ground. Behind a porous offensive line, Minnesota ranks last in the NFL with just 73.4 rushing yards per game. Prior to the injury in Week 2, Peterson was averaging just 1.6 yards per carry.

Coach Dan Quinn said Thursday that he wanted to see Jones “explode pain-free” before green-lighting him for Sunday. That obviously didn’t happen, leaving Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel to operate as the team’s top two receivers against the Niners.

If there’s a week to sit Jones, this would be it. The 49ers are allowing more points per game than any team in the league while the versatile Falcons are scoring more per tilt than anyone else. With Jones out of the lineup last week, the Falcons still dropped 42 points on the Rams.

In the thick of a playoff race, Atlanta can hardly afford to rest Jones after Week 15, but it makes plenty of sense to get him as healthy as possible for the final two weeks of the regular season — and beyond.

Cam Newton just keeps setting records

It’s pretty clear that the league has been trending toward more prolific passing numbers, and 2015 was no exception. With Matthew Stafford and Ryan Fitzpatrick joining the club on Sunday, the league saw 11 quarterbacks throw 30-plus touchdowns this year, up two from the nine that accomplished that last year, and up six from the five quarterbacks that did it in 2013.

Not surprisingly, there were more passing touchdowns this year than any previous NFL season ever.

So let’s take a look at a few players that broke records this year. First up, the surprising and intriguing case of Kirk Cousins. After a rough start, Cousins turned a corner for Jay Gruden and put up some truly amazing numbers en route to leading Washington to a playoff berth. Cousins finished with 29 touchdowns to 11 picks and became the first Washington quarterback since 1978 to throw a touchdown pass in all 16 games.

Hickey, who spent 14 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and worked his way up to the team’s director of personnel, was hired by the Dolphins in January 2014. One year later, however, after a second straight 8-8 season, Miami brought in former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum. Tannenbaum was assigned the label of executive vice president of football operations and became Hickey’s boss.

In his one season calling the shots, after replacing the deposed Jeff Ireland, Hickey drafted offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James and wide receiver Jarvis Landry. He also made a number of free agent signings. The most notable was the five-year, $47 million contract he handed left tackle Branden Albert.

This is the seventh straight year the Dolphins missed out on the playoffs. They haven’t finished with a winning record since 2008.

In the AFC the Cincinnati Bengals will play host to the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers in a Wild Card Weekend matchup, with the Bengals having lost 33-20 at home to the Steelers as a 1-point favorite when they last met in Week 14. Cincinnati topped the Steelers 16-10 as a 1-point underdog at Pittsburgh in the Week 8 battle between the two teams at Heinz Field.

The White Sox would want right-hander Tyler Glasnow and outfielder Austin Meadows

Unlike Sale, whose fastball velocity declined in 2016 (perhaps because he made more of a conscious effort to pitch to contact but perhaps because he simply wasn’t throwing as hard), Quintana averaged a career-high 92.0 mph with his fastball. There are no signs that he is due to regress. And Buster’s right: In what looks like a weak AL Central aside from the Indians in the coming years, the White Sox might be contenders sooner than most rebuilding jobs, especially if they can dig into the lucrative free-agent market that will arrive after the 2018 season.

Anyway, Quintana remains a valuable trade chip, and deals will be discussed. Let’s see if we can find one that might work.

Houston Astros: This is the team everybody mentions as a potential trade partner. The Astros have improved their lineup, and adding Quintana alongside Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and a healthy Lance McCullers would make for a nice rotation. Any deal would have to start with Francis Martes, Houston’s top prospect and one of the top pitching prospects in the minors. He pitched in Double-A last season, so he isn’t far away.

Four teams that could have been fits (Blue Jays, Yankees, Astros, Rockies) all turned elsewhere. So the theme I heard most from executives and agents is this: Encarnacion should stop counting money he never had, take a short or creative deal with a team like Cleveland or Texas, and then try this again next winter, with no qualifying offer attached.

The Pirates and Nationals got so far down the line on a deal to send McCutchen to Washington — for a package that would have been extremely close to what the Nationals offered for both Chris Sale and Adam Eaton — that some of the Pirates’ delegation thought it was on the verge of happening. But once the Nationals decided they preferred Eaton and pivoted away, the Pirates had a whole different sort of challenge on their hands.

By which we mean … damage control.

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Derek Carr hasn’t been an MVP against the Chiefs

The Oakland Raiders were in great position to claim an important victory last December against the Kansas City Chiefs, winners at the time of five consecutive games, as they entered the fourth quarter with a 20-14 lead.

Then the Chiefs did what they always seem to do against Oakland quarterback Derek Carr. They forced him into some game-changing mistakes. Early in the fourth quarter, Carr threw an interception that was returned to the Oakland 2. The Chiefs converted the favorable field position into a touchdown that tied the game when they missed the point-after attempt.

Then they intercepted Carr again, returning it to the Oakland 13. The Chiefs would again go on to score a touchdown. They intercepted him one more time and turned this one into a pick-six that sealed their 34-20 victory.

Carr might play like an MVP candidate against the rest of the league, but he hasn’t been one against the Chiefs. Even this season, as the Raiders bolted to a 10-2 start, Carr had by far his lowest QBR of the season (31.4) in a 26-10 loss to the Chiefs on Oct. 16, when he was intercepted once and lost a fumble.

It’s been an eventful start for a group of quarterbacks that elicited polarized reactions during the 2014 draft, and as the Vikings face the Jaguars this weekend, desperately in need of a win after losing six of seven games, they’ll hope they can get the better of the one quarterback they didn’t have the chance to take two years ago.

“He’s a lot like the guy we looked at when he was coming out,” Zimmer said. “He’s got a big, strong arm. He’s an athlete. He’s been making a lot of plays with his legs. The scramble tape this week is twice as big as any other tape. He can make all of throws. He’s got a good, strong arm, big rangy athlete.”

Bortles has run for 325 yards already this season, after posting 729 during his first two years, but his 50 interceptions in that time are the main reason why he admitted Wednesday his season “hasn’t been great — not the results you’ve wanted, not the personal play I’ve wanted.” While he said he believes the Jaguars’ offense is headed in the right direction under new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Bortles is coming off a game against the Denver Broncos where he completed just 19 of 42 passes for 181 yards, while being picked off twice.

Jordan Reed banged up and with a bad matchup and the recent struggles of Greg Olsen

Clearly, I’m all-in on stars who received no targets in their previous game. But seriously, Antonio Gates had scored in three straight games prior to last week’s stinker.

Antonio Gates, Chargers: I’m not worried about last week, which was a function of game flow and specific matchups. After at least eight targets in four straight games before last week, Gates gets back on track this week as the Bolts face a Bucs squad allowing more than 81 yards a game to opposing tight ends, including double-digit fantasy points in three of the past five.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs: With Rob Gronkowski out, Jordan Reed banged up and with a bad matchup and the recent struggles of Greg Olsen, I have only Jimmy Graham higher in my tight end rankings this week than Kelce. He is a huge part of the offense and coming off a big game, so I like Kelce’s chances at a top-three day against a Falcons team that gives up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends — including a nine-point effort last week to Jermaine Gresham. I repeat, Jermaine Gresham.

Others receiving votes: Just like I am with Cooks and Gates, I am back on board with Eric Ebron after a brutal game. Before last week, he had been on a tear and, you know, New Orleans. Expect Stafford to get his tight end back involved in a shootout. …

Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions, ankle, (Q): Riddick was limited in practice throughout the week and comes into the game as questionable. This has been the pattern for multiple weeks now, ever since Riddick returned from a two-week absence following the injury. He remains their go-to back when he is on the field, regardless of his designation.

Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders, ankle, (Q): Murray is again listed as questionable this week with an ankle injury. Last week he carried the ball 19 (!) times, so it’s not as if the team is reducing his workload because of an injury concern. He was a limited practice participant each day this week, and he is expected to be the majority ball carrier again in Week 13. As always with the late games, fantasy owners are advised to verify the status of players like Murray with a questionable designation.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, foot, (Q): Last week Rodgers was listed as questionable after getting his first practice reps since his foot injury but ended up being inactive. This week Rodgers increased his practice activity, fully participating each day. His questionable status feels much more like a probable designation, but even if he is active, Doug Martin is still expected to shoulder most of the workload for the Buccaneers.