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Royster Establishes Rhythm Early vs. Vikings


Rookie running back Evan Royster started his first career NFL game on Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Fairfax, Va., native carried the ball 19 times for 132 yards in a 33-26 losing effort to the Vikings.

Royster averaged 6.9 yards per carry and his longest run was a 28-yard run in the third quarter that led to a 25-yard Graham Gano field goal.

Royster said he was pleased with his effort even though it came in a losing cause.

"I was pretty happy with how I played," Royster said. "I think we did a great job up front. They have played really well and I'm comfortable."

Royster, who took the bulk of reps in practice last week with Roy Helu slowed by knee and toe injuries, said he was able to find a comfort level early in the game.

"We came out pretty strong," he said. "When you start out like that, the rhythm comes pretty quick. Once you get going, it's hard to stop."

The game had even more meaning for Royster.

"I probably had about 10 friends and almost my whole family at the game," Royster said. "It was good to come out and have a pretty good game."

Royster said losing the game made his success bittersweet.

"You always want to win, individual accomplishments are secondary, but they can still make you feel good at a time like this," he said.

Victory or not, head coach Mike Shanahan was happy with his rookie's performance as well.

"I thought Evan did a great job," Shanahan said. "As he gets more experience and feels more comfortable with himself and this system, I think you'll see him get better and better. Mentally he's very on top of his game, especially for a young player."

By eclipsing the 100-yard rushing mark, Royster joined fellow rookie Roy Helu as running backs who have rushed for more than 100 yards in at least one game this season.

It marked the first time in franchise history that two different rookie running backs have had 100-yard rushing games in the same season.

Royster was called up to the active 53-man roster on November 22, the week before the Redskins played the Seattle Seahawks.

Before Saturday's game, Royster had a season total of 17 carries for 83 yards.

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