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Adrian Peterson starting for Redskins Sunday vs. Cards

To the surprise of few, Adrian Peterson finagled himself another starting gig.

The 33-year-old running back will open the season as the Washington Redskins' backfield leader against his former team, the Arizona Cardinals, per NBC Sports Washington.

The move has been expected since the Redskins brought in Peterson just over two weeks ago, after a season-ending injury to Derrius Guice and other backs suffered injuries.

On Wednesday, coach Jay Gruden joked about Peterson's workload in Week 1.

"You know what, no. Ideally it'd be about 40, you know, because we're ... you know that'd be great," Gruden said, per the team's transcript. "But I don't know, as the game goes on we'll see how it goes. These guys are pretty good against the run. They like to stack the box also. It's a matter of how we're blocking and the big thing is, like I said, staying out of third and long. But sometimes you have to risk that to try and pound the rock a couple times on first and second down. We'll see, you know, I think he just got here. We feel good about his talent, his skillset, but we also feel good about Rob Kelley, Samaje [Perine] and Chris [Thompson]."

The rise to starting running back was not unexpected, but it's notable for Peterson, who bided his time on the free-agent market this summer, waiting for an opportunity like the Redskins' to open. The veteran back is already in midseason 'no one believed I could still do it' mode.

"I feel like anyone who's doing anything, you always have some doubters who give up on you, and it motivates you to keep pressing forward. So that's been part of my motivation," he said.

Peterson put on good tape last season in Arizona, even if his production was inconsistent behind a poor offensive line. The veteran still owns burst through the hole speed and can run over second-level defenders. In six games as a starter for the Cardinals last year, Peterson earned two 130-plus-yard performances but also had three below the 30-yard mark.

How Peterson will fare with his new team remains to be seen, but Gruden is giving the older back the first crack.

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