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Vikings will hold Adrian Peterson out for the preseason

Adrian Peterson AP

The Vikings will play it safe with running back Adrian Peterson’s surgically repaired knee, holding him out of the preseason in an effort to ensure that he’s healthy when the regular season starts.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Peterson will not see any action in either of the Vikings’ two remaining preseason games, but the team remains confident that Peterson will be good to go on September 9, when the Vikings open the regular season against the Jaguars.

Peterson, who suffered a torn ACL eight months ago in Week 16 of the regular season, has maintained all along that he’d be ready to play when the 2012 season started, and he’s been eager enough to play that the talk out of Minnesota has mostly focused on the coaching and training staffs’ effort’s to rein him in to keep him from overdoing it.

Although Peterson has said he would like to test his knee out in live game action before the regular season starts, it appears that the first hit he’ll take will come in Week One. Which is still earlier than many predicted when Peterson suffered that injury late last season.

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David Bruton out in Washington after signing three-year deal in offseason

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 12: Defensive back David Bruton #30 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after breaking up a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second quarter at FedExField on September 12, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Safety David Bruton signed a three-year deal with the Redskins as a free agent this offseason, but his stay in Washington has come to an end after appearing in four games.

Bruton opened the season as a starter for the Redskins, but landed on injured reserve after four games because of a concussion. The team signed Donte Whitner to fill his spot on the defense and announced on Friday that they have released Bruton off of I.R.

Bruton’s deal had a total possible value of $9 million and he had a $2.5 million signing bonus, which will leave the Redskins with dead money on the cap next year.

The Redskins also announced that they have waived tackle Blaine Clausell and promoted cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland is listed as questionable to play against the Cardinals because of an ankle injury.

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Broncos promote practice-squader to replace their punt returner

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27:  Wide receiver Jordan Norwood #11 of the Denver Broncos jumps while tackled by wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas #13 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 27, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Aqib Talib won’t have a chance to shove Jordan Norwood for muffing another punt.

Primarily because the Broncos have replaced Norwood in that role.

The Broncos filled the roster spot created by putting fullback Andy Janovich on injured reserve by promoting wide receiver Kalif Raymond from the practice squad. He’ll return punts for them Sunday against the Jaguars, after Norwood muffed two of them last week against the Chiefs.

“He’s going to play. I expect to suit both him and Jordan,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said, via Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post. “Really, it’s a reward more than anything. This kid does everything, . . . He deserves an opportunity to help us out.”

They can spin it as a bump for the undrafted rookie from Holy Cross if they please, but this was a straight-up demotion for Norwood after a terrible week of special teams, of which he was only a part.

Broncos special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis called the Chiefs game “the worst game he’s been a part of special-teams wise.”

“Obviously that’s unacceptable; we can’t put the ball on the ground,” DeCamillis said prior to Raymond’s promotion. “We have to maintain field possession for our team and it was not a good night. We have to get that corrected quickly.”

The Broncos now have eight wide receivers on the roster, in addition to two long snappers, meaning there are more transactions in their future.

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Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell fined for joint touchdown celebration

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 24:  Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after making a touchdown catch in first quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 24, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said this week that wide receiver Antonio Brown can’t keep getting penalties for celebrating his touchdowns as he did against the Colts on Thanksgiving night.

Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell danced together after one of Brown’s three touchdown catches in the Pittsburgh win and drew flags for violating the league’s prohibition on choreographed celebrations. The league office joined the officials and Roethlisberger in castigating Brown this week.

Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that Brown, who had two previous celebration penalties and three other fines this season, has been fined $24,309 as a result of the celebration. Bell has been fined $12,154 for his part in the dance party.

Brown and the Steelers will face off with the Giants this weekend and we’ll find out if the rebukes have had any effect if Brown makes his way into the end zone during that contest.

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Steve Smith not fined for headbutting Vontaze Burfict

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 27: Wide receiver Steve Smith #89 of the Baltimore Ravens and outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals are seperated by referee Clete Blakeman #34 in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Early in last Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Bengals, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict shoved Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith to the ground during a play and then stood over him when the play was over.

Smith responded by headbutting Burfict in the sternum when he got up. Burfict fell to the ground with more than a little extra embellishment, which may have helped cause Smith to be flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play.

It also may have helped the league decide against fining Smith as a result of the penalty. PFT has confirmed with the league that neither Smith nor Burfict were fined for their interaction in a game the Ravens went on to win 19-14.

PFT has also confirmed that Ravens safety Eric Weddle was not fined for an unnecessary roughness penalty he picked up later in the game.

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Corey Coleman fined for facemask penalty

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 20:  Artie Burns #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers breaks up a pass intended for Corey Coleman #19 of the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Browns rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman was fined $9,115 for grabbing the facemask of Giants cornerback Eli Apple during last Sunday’s game, PFT has confirmed.

The penalty occurred in the second quarter as the Browns were in Giants’ territory and Josh McCown was trying to hit Coleman on a deep ball along the sideline. Besides grabbing the facemask, Coleman actually did a good job of preventing the pass from being intercepted.

Coleman caught a 21-yard touchdown pass later in the game.

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Rolando McClain suspended indefinitely

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

The NFL career of Rolando McClain may have come to an end with yet another suspension.

McClain has been suspended indefinitely, the NFL made official today. McClain has violated the league’s substance-abuse policy again, which means he would have a lengthy road back that would require treatment and an ability to pass drug tests consistently.

It’s hard to see McClain ever returning at this point. He has already missed all of this season for a previous violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Given his history of off-field problems, he may never find another team willing to give him a chance even if he does get reinstated by the league.

At age 27, McClain may be done in the NFL.

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Aaron Rodgers listed as questionable for Sunday

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks on against the Washington Redskins in the third quarter at FedExField on November 20, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers practiced for the third straight day on Friday, but those limited sessions weren’t enough to keep him from getting an injury designation on the team’s injury report for Sunday’s game against the Texans.

Rodgers is listed as questionable because of the hamstring injury he suffered against the Eagles last Monday night. The injury didn’t keep Rodgers from playing as well as he has all season and there hasn’t been any suggestion from Green Bay this week that he’s at risk of missing the game.

So it is probable that Rodgers will play despite the questionable tag and that’s also been the indication about linebacker Clay Matthews. Matthews hurt his shoulder against the Eagles and got the same designation for this week’s game, but coach Mike McCarthy has said that he expects Matthews to be in the lineup against Houston.

Guard T.J. Lang and center J.C. Tretter are both listed as doubtful to play while linebackers Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez round out the group of players listed as questionable.

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Manziel agrees to anger management, substance abuse treatment to drop domestic violence charges

johnny-manziel-091315-usnews-getty-ftr_6s0twjczw18d1v8w4z0o5mmpn Getty Images

Former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel got domestic violence charges dropped in an agreement with prosecutors that requires him to go into anger management counseling and get substance abuse treatment.

Manziel is already in the NFL’s substance abuse program and will need to either continue working through the league’s program or enter another rehabilitation program. He will also need to attend a panel in which domestic violence victims discuss how it impacted them, WFAA reports.

The NFL could suspend Manziel even though he’s not currently under contract with a team, if the league’s own investigation finds that he violated the league’s policies on domestic violence. He has also been suspended four games for substance abuse.

Whether any NFL suspensions ever matter remains to be seen, as Manziel would still have to convince some team to take a chance on signing him. Given that he didn’t play particularly well with the Browns and frequently finds himself in off-field trouble, there’s a good chance that no team will ever give him that chance. Manziel’s career might be over, but at the moment he should be focusing not on football but on getting his life in order.

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Raiders placing D.J. Hayden on injured reserve

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 30: Wide receiver Russell Shepard #89 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulls in the teams first touchdown as cornerback D.J. Hayden #25 of the Oakland Raiders defends during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium on October 30, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders will be without one of their top cornerbacks for the rest of the season.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio announced on Friday that the team will place D.J. Hayden on injured reserve. Hayden injured his hamstring in last Sunday’s victory over the Panthers and, via Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area, Del Rio called the loss “a big blow.”

Hayden was a first-round pick in 2013 and battled injuries his first two seasons before adding more positive contributions this season. He has 37 tackles and a forced fumble while playing as part of a group with David Amerson and Sean Smith at corner for the AFC West leaders.

Hayden is set to become a free agent come March, so he may be done in Oakland although his injury will likely have some impact on how things play out for him on the open market.

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Jimmy Smith likely to return Sunday

Baltimore Ravens v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith was a full participant in Friday’s practice and seems on his way to playing Sunday against the Dolphins.

The Ravens list Smith as questionable. He’s missed the last two games with a back injury.

Wide receiver and special teams player Kamar Aiken is also questionable with a thigh injury but also was a full practice participant Friday. The Ravens list guard Alex Lewis (ankle), tight end Crockett Gillmore (thigh) and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh) as out.

Running back Buck Allen is doubtful. Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said Allen is dealing with a personal issue.

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Ziggy Ansah on lack of sacks: Close is not good enough

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 23: Ezekiel Ansah #94 of the Detroit Lions prepares to play the Washington Redskinsat Ford Field on October 23, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan Detroit won the game 20-17. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Lions are riding a three-game winning streak and they sit at the top of the NFC North heading into Week 13, so things have been going well for them as a team this season.

Things haven’t gone quite as well for defensive end Ziggy Ansah as an individual. Ansah has missed three games with an ankle injury and he’s yet to record a sack after picking up 30 of them over his first three NFL seasons. He’s had games where he’s produced pressure, including what appeared to be a strip sack against the Vikings on Thanksgiving before it was ruled an incomplete pass, and coach Jim Caldwell says there’s more to the game than sacks, but Ansah said knows that “everyone evaluates a defensive player on” how many sacks they get.

He also knows that the ankle injury has left him at less than 100 percent, although he says that’s not an excuse for failing to bring down quarterbacks as he has in the past.

“Close is not good enough,” Ansah said, via “I’ve got to get him down. I don’t give any excuses for how I play.”

This would be a good week for Ansah to break his sack slump as the Lions will be in New Orleans to face the Saints and slowing down Drew Brees would be a good way to extend both their winning streak and their lead in the division.

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Luke Kuechly still not practicing, so he won’t play against Seahawks

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 27:  Luke Kuechly #59 of the Carolina Panthers looks on from the sidelines while out for the second consecutive week of concussion protocol against the New Orleans Saints during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Panthers took Luke Kuechly along on their West coast road trip, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to do anything but watch.

The Panthers middle linebacker didn’t practice today, a pretty good sign he’s not playing Sunday against the Seahawks as he won’t have time to clear the concussion protocol.

Via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, Kuechly was one of four players not practicing Friday, along with safety Kurt Coleman, defensive end and leading sacker Mario Addison and right tackle Daryl Williams.

That means another week of mismatched offensive lines for the Panthers (though that is nearly their norm), but they’re back to a spare-part secondary, as Michael Griffin will likely step in for Coleman, who is also in the concussion protocol.

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Sheriff’s department investigating Joe McKnight’s killing has a conflict of interest

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand consoles a woman at the scene of former NFL player Joe McKnight's homicide as the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office investigates in Terrytown, La., Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Michael DeMocker / The Times-Picayune via AP) AP

In a press conference during which Sheriff Newell Normand came off on multiple occasions as frustrated and defensive, an eyebrow-raising comment was made suggesting that special steps should be taken to ensure that the investigation unfolds in a fair and proper manner.

Responding to questions from the media, Sheriff Normand addressed the decision to release Ronald Gasser, 54, from custody only hours after he shot and killed former NFL running back Joe McKnight.

“The easiest thing for me [to say] would have been, ‘Book him, Danno,'” Sheriff Normand said. “Right? But the fact of the matter is is that in trying to flesh out these details as it relates to all of this and not having that rush to judgment and doing this in a very deliberate and appropriate fashion, we chose not to do that.”

Next came a surprising disclosure from Sheriff Normand, who apparently was trying to short-circuit any suggestion that racial dynamics would protect Gasser.

“Of course, where that leads us at this point in time is that everybody wants to make this about race,” Sheriff Normand said. “This isn’t about race. And I’ll just throw this out folks so that everybody knows and there’s no hiding the ball. The gentleman that raised Joe McKnight used to work for this office.”

Separate comments from Sheriff Normand indicated that the shooter may not have been aware that the man who raised Joe McKnight previously was a deputy in Jefferson Parish. And that could be a problem for the investigation, because there’s a chance that no amount of effort to ensure a fair investigation will guarantee it.

Indeed, a conflict of interest exists, which could require the authorities to take steps aimed at ensuring the conflict doesn’t impact any recommendations made or otherwise undermine the case. It also arguably requires prosecutors or someone else to intervene now, ensuring that the investigation isn’t tainted, one way or the other, because of the relationship between the victim and his family.

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Sheriff: McKnight’s killer fired shots from inside his car

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Joe McKnight of the New York Jets poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images) Getty Images

The man who shot former NFL running back Joe McKnight has not been charged yet. But he still could be.

Jefferson Parish sheriff Newell Normand told reporters on Friday that the investigation will proceed in a “deliberate” and “credible” way, with no “rush to judgment.”

“If you do not dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ and there are deficiencies in what you do from an investigatory standpoint, it has dire consequences,” Sheriff Normand said.

Sheriff Normand also advised caution regarding the use of social media, and he said that any demonstrations regarding the incident must comply with all state and local laws.

“I would ask the community to pause and reflect that if you start with ‘I feel,’ that is a slippery slope,” Sheriff Normand said. “It’s what the evidence suggests, what the evidence reveals, and what the evidence is.”

Sheriff Normand added that the shooter, Ronald Gasser, did not stand over McKnight. Gasser, according to Sheriff Normand, was in his car when the shots were fired. The shell casings, Normand said, were in the car.

Also, Sheriff Normand said there is no video of the shooting, and no witness account of any “apology” being made by McKnight to Gasser.

The reference to the shots being fired by Gasser while in his car brings into play Louisiana’s “Kill the Carjacker” law, an extension of the “stand your ground” law that allows for a person to use deadly force to defend himself while in a vehicle. And this could set the stage for Gasser never being charged or, if he’s charged, acquitted of any crime that he may have allegedly committed.

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“Things look good” for Branden Albert’s return to action

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 29:  Branden Albert #76 of the Miami Dolphins in action against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 29, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dolphins beat the 49ers last Sunday despite the absence of three starting offensive linemen.

It looks like their attempt to run their winning streak to seven games will come with just one of that group out of action. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said on Friday, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, that “things look good” for left tackle Branden Albert’s return to action after missing the last two games with a dislocated wrist.

The Dolphins also expect to get left guard Laremy Tunsil back in the lineup against the Ravens. Tunsil hurt his shoulder while filling in for Albert two weeks ago, but was closer to playing last week than Albert. Center Mike Pouncey remains out with a hip injury.

The other big injury on the offensive side of the ball is the back problem that’s been bothering wide receiver DeVante Parker. Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said on Thursday that it will be a “bonus” if Parker plays, but Gase didn’t rule him out on Friday.

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