Five players to watch out for in the 2013 NFL season

Reuters

(Reuters) - Five players to watch out for during the National Football League's (NFL) 2013 season, which starts on Thursday:

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ADRIAN PETERSON, MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Came back from major knee surgery in time for the season opener last year and went on to rush for a career-high 2,097 yards, nine yards shy of the single-season record. Was later named the NFL's most valuable player.

The bruising running back enters this season with no injury concerns and is widely expected to be among the league leaders in every rushing category for the 2013 season.

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COLIN KAEPERNICK, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Strong-armed Kaepernick grabbed the quarterbacking spotlight when he took over the starting job midway through last season and helped lead the 49ers to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1995.

But the 25-year-old has never played a full season in the NFL and will be facing lofty expectations to duplicate his breakout season while opposing teams will have had plenty of time to prepare for him.

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DARRELLE REVIS, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The All-Pro cornerback was the backbone of the New York Jets defense and was upset to learn the team that drafted him in 2007 was shopping him around during the offseason, eventually settling on a trade with Tampa Bay.

Revis has been rehabbing from a torn ACL he sustained while playing for the Jets last season but is expected to play in the Buccaneers' season opener in New York on September 8 against his former team and in front of fans who have long adored him.

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ROBERT GRIFFIN III, WASHINGTON REDSKINS

The explosive 23-year-old quarterback will be sporting a surgically repaired right knee when he returns to the field for the first time since suffering the injury during a January playoff loss last season.

Griffin, drafted second overall in 2012, has turned around the Redskins franchise and completed 65.6 percent of his passes last season as he led the team to the NFC East division title and was named the NFL's rookie of the year.

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CALVIN JOHNSON, DETROIT LIONS

Widely considered the NFL's best wide receiver, the man known as Megatron because of the dominant physical presence he brings to the field, is coming off a season where he set a single-season record with 1,964 receiving yards.

Johnson boasts dynamic play making ability, incredible speed, a wide catch radius and an uncanny ability to beat double coverage with relative ease, which will likely keep him among the top receivers this season.

(Compiled by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Keating)

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