Adrian Peterson broke the 2,000-yard rushing mark and became the first non-quarterback to win the MVP since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.
[Editor’s note: Adrian Peterson received 30.5 votes to win the 2012 NFL MVP. Peyton Manning received the other 19.5 votes.]
The 2012 NFL MVP is revealed tonight at an award ceremony, and after compiling public statements by the 50 Associated Press voters, I’m comfortable calling the race. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will beat Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to take home his first MVP award.
With half of the votes recorded, Peterson (18.5 votes) holds a strong advantage over Manning (6.5 votes), who will fall short of his fifth MVP. Peterson only needs seven of the remaining 25 votes to clinch the award.
Peterson became the seventh player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards, falling nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s NFL record one season after a significant knee injury. Peterson carried the 10-6 Vikings to the playoffs, finishing with 2,097 yards on 348 attempts (6.0 avg.) for 12 touchdowns along with 40 receptions for 217 yards and one touchdown.
Manning threw for 4,659 yards with 37 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a league-best 68.6 percent completion percentage for the second-highest QB rating (105.8) in his career. After not playing in 2011 because of a neck injury, Manning led the Broncos to a 13-3 record in his first season with the team.
There’s an outside chance another player — like Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson or Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers — could receive a rogue vote.
Adrian Peterson (30.5 votes)
Clark Judge — “Without him, the Vikings don’t just make the playoffs; they don’t make it to .500.”
Peter King — “The Vikings without Peterson would have been toast by Thanksgiving, Halloween maybe.”
Don Banks — “The season Peterson just turned in was singular, special and as valuable as they come.”
Charean Williams — “The Vikings went 5-2 in their last seven games to earn a playoff berth. In that seven-game stretch, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder passed for 1,129 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Peterson ran for 1,140 yards with seven total touchdowns.”
Ashley Fox — “It might be the single greatest season-long individual performance in NFL history. On a reconstructed knee with every defense knowing he is going to carry the ball because quarterback Christian Ponder is not much of a threat and Percy Harvin has been out since midseason, Peterson has put up monster numbers.”
Paul Domowitch — “He’s managed to run away with the league rushing title and challenge Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record and keep the Vikings in the playoff hunt not only with a surgically repaired left knee, but a one-dimensional offense that has Christian Ponder at quarterback.”
Mark Gaughan — “Peterson finished with the second most rushing yards and the eighth most scrimmage yards in NFL history. That was despite rehabilitating from major knee surgery all offseason. And despite the fact Minnesota’s passing game was 31st in the NFL. And despite the fact his offensive line is decent but far from great.”
Ira Kaufman — “With opposing defenses loading the box and daring mediocre QB Christian Ponder to make them pay, Peterson came within nine yards of toppling Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson as the league’s single-season rushing champion. By the time Peterson stopped dodging tacklers, Minnesota had secured 10 wins and the NFC’s final playoff slot.”
Tom Curran – “You have to have an incredible season to unseat a quarterback … I think Adrian Peterson has had a historic one, and he needs to be recognized for that.”
Alex Marvez — “If the Vikings reach the playoffs, Peterson will likely get my vote.”
Rich Gannon — “I looked at the fact the Vikings aren’t very good in the passing game and they didn’t have Percy Harvin (down the stretch). I looked at how he was able to shoulder the load and carry that football team. I don’t think many people thought they’d make the playoffs.”
Adam Schein — “Adam and Rich actually have MVP votes, unlike the rest of our esteemed panel, and they are going with Adrian “All Day” Peterson.”
Paul Gutierrez — “What separated Peterson, though, was just how valuable he was to the Vikings. He WAS the Vikings. Consider, Minnesota had the 31st-ranked passing attack in the NFL under Christian Ponder, so opponents absolutely knew the Vikings were going to run the ball and could flood the box.”
Peyton Manning (19.5 votes)
Pete Prisco — “Coming back from an injury that could have ended his career to do what he did is amazing.”
Hub Arkush — “He has taken the Broncos from afterthought to legitimate Super Bowl contender, and as great as Peterson has been — in fact, he has had the better individual season — the Vikings just aren’t a Super Bowl threat.”
Boomer Esiason — “Peyton Manning, there’s no question in my eyes.”
John Lynch — “I felt the day Peyton walked in the building the secretaries were better because Peyton Manning was there.”