Ravens 'Beat Out' by Cardinals for Adrian Peterson. What Happened?
We all saw the New Orleans Saints trade Adrian Peterson, one of the best rushers in NFL history, to the Arizona Cardinals last week.
What we didn't know until Sunday morning was that the Ravens were in the mix behind the scenes, trying to acquire Peterson for themselves, but were "beat out" by the Cardinals, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Arizona reportedly gave up a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft for Peterson. As part of the trade, the Cardinals take on his 2017 base salary of $705,882. He will count $3.5 million against the cap next season.
It certainly seemed like a manageable deal for the Ravens, so it's unclear why Baltimore was beat out.
"Rapoport did not explain whether the Ravens simply didn't offer as much or if they just did not make an offer quickly enough," wrote USA Today's Jess Root.
Baltimore already traded a 2018 conditional seventh-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for guard/center Tony Bergstrom on Sept. 1. The next day, the team traded an undisclosed draft pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for center Luke Bowanko, meaning it's not known what round or year that pick will come from.
The conditions of those picks weren't disclosed, but so far, Bowanko has seen very limited snaps this season and Bergstrom has played in two games but been inactive for three.
The news that Baltimore even attempted to trade for Peterson was somewhat surprising because the Ravens rank No. 7 in rushing offense.
On the other hand, the running back corps has been hit by injuries, including to Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West. The team's leading rusher is Alex Collins, who was cut from the Seattle Seahawks practice squad earlier this year.
"This is not how Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh saw things going," wrote CBSSports.com's Will Brinson.
The same day the trade news broke last Tuesday, the Ravens announced the re-signing of running back Bobby Rainey. It was two days after West went down with a calf injury. Rainey didn't get any carries against the Chicago Bears Sunday, but he notched a crucial, and crazy, 96-yard kickoff return touchdown.
Meanwhile, in his first game/start with the Cardinals, Peterson rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries.
Nobody is happier than Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald because Peterson's presence helped open him up for 10 catches for 138 yards in Arizona's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday. Fitzgerald said he'd have a Super Bowl ring by now if he'd always had Peterson on his team.
"Did the Ravens need Adrian Peterson? Absolutely," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Logan Levy. "Is it the end of the world that they lost the 'battle' for Peterson? No it is not, but it is definitely an interesting development.
"What is for certain is that Baltimore could have used Peterson in goal-line situations. His style of play matches up perfectly with what the Ravens are trying to do."
Teddy Bridgewater Cleared to Practice, But Unlikely to Play Against Baltimore
After more than a year of rehabbing a nasty knee injury, Vikings starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been cleared by doctors to return to practice this week.
That said, it's unlikely he'll be on the field to face off against the Ravens for a Week 7 matchup in Minnesota. Bridgewater is still on the Vikings' physically unable to practice (PUP) list, and he has 21 days of practice before the team must decide whether to activate him or keep him on injured reserve for the remainder of the year.
"No, he won't come off the PUP list," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Monday. "He's going to practice, but he has 21 days and he'll stay on the PUP list until he's ready to play.
"We'll take it one day at a time just like we did for the last 14 months. ... He hasn't practiced in 14 months, we're not going to dose him out tomorrow or Wednesday."
Unless the Vikings activate him this week, the Ravens will need to plan for either interim starter Sam Bradford or No. 3 quarterback Case Keenum. Bradford reaggravated a nagging knee injury in Week 4 and didn't play last week in the Vikings' win over the Green Bay Packers. Keenum completed 24 of 38 passes for 239 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Even without a clear starting quarterback, the Vikings opened as 4.5-point favorites over the Ravens.
While either Keenum or Bradford could start, it's looking more and more like it will be Keenum, as Fox Sports reported that Bradford's knee is "much worse than people know."
Jimmy Smith Got Increased Snaps and Achilles Came Out Fine
The Baltimore Sun's Edward Lee pointed out that one week after seeing a season-low seven snaps in Oakland, cornerback Jimmy Smith's workload increased to 69 snaps against the Bears (86 percent of Sunday's defensive plays).
The Ravens played it safe with Smith because of a sore Achilles that had been bugging him for a couple weeks. The good news is that he didn't suffer a setback despite seeing the large uptick in game action.
"He made it out of the game great," Harbaugh said Monday. "Yeah, Jimmy did well. It was good. He's probably sore from the game, but he played all of the snaps and played excellent. I thought our corners played exceptionally well. You want to talk about the team a little bit, the corners played great. They covered well, they ran to the ball, they were good in run support on the edges. That was big."
What Are the Odds of Losing Despite Two Special Teams Touchdowns?
Prior to the Ravens' loss, teams who had scored multiple touchdowns on special teams over the past 10 seasons were 18-3, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"It's odd, but that's the way it went," said Rainey, who returned the 96-yard kickoff. "Usually you think you're going to win the game when special teams comes up big. We got two scores in the end to tie the game up, but it didn't go our way. We have to come in next week and deal with that."
Rainey's right. Not only do teams "usually" win, but they "mostly" win under such a scenario. It's an .857 winning percentage.
"Losing under those circumstances is a reflection of how poorly Baltimore played in the other facets of the game," ESPN wrote.
- When Bears running back Tarik Cohen threw a touchdown pass on a trick halfback toss on the Ravens Sunday, he became the first person standing 5-foot-6 or shorter to throw a touchdown pass since Wee Willie Smith in 1934, according to NFL Research. I'm not sure what that means, but there you have it. [NFL.com]