Those who have watched the NFL this season think the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award, and the Most Valuable Player Award come down to the same two men: Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. Both players came off injuries requiring surgery, and both had stand out years.
Peyton Manning, with a new team, in an outdoor stadium led that team to a 13-3 record. He competed nearly 69% of his passes for 4,659 and 37 touchdown passes. This after having 4 neck surgeries that caused him to miss the entire 2011 season.
Adrian Peterson tore his ACL, had surgery to repair that and fell 9 yards short of having the best season ever by a running back. He finished with 2,096 yards, just 9 yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s single season record.
Both are playing in the Pro Bowl as neither led their team to the Super Bowl. And Adrian Peterson is taking the opportunity to campaign for the MVP award. When a reporter asked about who he though the MVP should be, Peterson had a simple answer.
“I’m going to win it. I will get it,” Peterson said, via the Denver Post.
While Manning had a good year, Peterson seemingly had an even better year. The Minnesota Vikings lacked any kind of passing attack and opponents knew Peterson was coming, and he finished strong after a slow start. He didn’t even cross the 100 yard mark till his fourth game and didn’t record his second till the 7th game.
And it’s that 7th game when he caught fire. He ran for 153 yards that game, the first of 8 game streak where he passed 100 yards every game, the 150 yard mark 6 different times and the 200 yard mark twice.
Peyton Manning’s stats are no doubt less impressive. He tied Y.A. Tittle’s record for most touchdown passes thrown after the age of 35 years. But the league took notice of what Adrian Peterson did.
“I’m still amazed,” Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk said. “What A.P. did was incredible. Unless you’ve played football and had knee issues, there’s no word to quantify what he did. I kept waiting and waiting for fatigue to come into his game. But, as the season went on, he actually started getting stronger. And that doesn’t happen in the NFL.”
We’ll wait and see who wins, but it looks like Peterson has the edge.