By Dennis Glade
Adrian Peterson should be the NFL MVP, and the vote shouldn’t be close. When the 2012 MVP award is announced later this month, Peterson will likely come up short to Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, because the award usually goes to Manning if it’s close. Manning has won four MVP’s in his career, and may be the best regular-season quarterback of all time. If Manning beats out Peterson with the voters, it will be a travesty.
By now you have heard about Peterson’s assault on Eric Dickerson’s 28-year record for single season rushing yards. Peterson fell nine yards short of the record in Sunday’s 37-34 victory against Green Bay, finishing with 2,097 yards. Manning had a great first year in Denver following a 2011 season when he didn’t play at all in Indianapolis due to a serious neck in jury. Manning completed 68 percent of his passes with 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns and 11interceptions. Both men had fantastic seasons, but to give Manning the award is simply being lazy and not realizing how great of a season we just witnessed from Peterson.
Yes, Manning led the Broncos to the No. 1 seed and home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, but it’s not like the Denver was a bottom feeder last season. You may remember, the Broncos upset of Pittsburgh in the wild card round last January with quarterback Tim Tebow. If Tebow was able to lead Denver to the AFC divisional round a year ago, how bare could the cupboard have been?
Peterson, on the other hand had one of the greatest seasons for any player in NFL history. When Peterson tore his ACL on Christmas Eve 2011, many medical experts didn’t think he’d be ready for the start of this season, yet there he was. He not only started all 16 games, but he was better than he was in his first five seasons. In his last 10 games, Peterson eclipsed 150 yards seven times. In the first six games of the season, he eclipsed 100 yards only once.
Minnesota won only three games last season, and much of the season second-year quarterback Christian Ponder struggled with consistency all year. Ponder completed 62 percent of his passes for only 2,935 yards, with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Ponder’s inconsistencies meant Peterson would face eight and nine man fronts nearly every time he carried the ball, especially down the stretch when Minnesota was fighting for the final NFC playoff spot.
In the final four weeks of the season, Minnesota defeated Chicago, St. Louis, Houston and Green Bay, all wins they had to have to get into the playoffs. In that four game stretch, Peterson ran for 651 yards and four touchdowns. He had 199 or more twice, and 154 in the win against Chicago. In the most important time of the year, Peterson was at his best, which is exactly what MVP’s are supposed to do.
Without Peterson, the Vikings are a five-win team at best, and with him they won 10 games and earned a playoff berth. Peterson is the best player in a quarterback dominated league, and he’s the MVP.
It’s not even close.