Vikings' Adrian Peterson named NFL MVP and Offensive Player of Year
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The Minnesota Vikings won't play in the Super Bowl on Sunday but the franchise had a very good day Saturday.
Hours after former wide receiver Cris Carter was finally named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson was presented the NFL's MVP and Offensive Player of the Year honors by the Associated Press at the league's awards show in New Orleans.
Peterson, who suffered torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee late in 2011, finished this season with 2,097 yards rushing on 348 carries, giving him an average of 6 yards per attempt, and 12 touchdowns.
His rushing total was the second best in NFL history behind the 2,105 yards that Eric Dickerson had in 1984 with the Los Angeles Rams.
Peterson beat out Peyton Manning, who in his first season as Denver's quarterback contended for a fifth MVP trophy. Manning's four are a record.
Peterson received 30½ votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. Manning, who also won the Comeback Player of the Year award after missing the 2011 season following neck surgery, got the other 19½ votes for MVP.
"It's truly an honor to be recognized as the league's most valuable player," Peterson said in a statement issued by the team. "While the award is considered an individual achievement, I couldn't have had the success that I did without my teammates, my coaches and the Vikings organization. I'm blessed to be a member of the Vikings, and I hope next year we can get the ultimate team award by bringing a Super Bowl championship to Minnesota."
Peterson led the Vikings from a 3-13 mark to 10-6 and a wild-card playoff berth. He is the first running back to win MVP since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.
Asked to compare his return with Manning's, Peterson said: "(We're) just two guys that are definitely determined, strong willpower, and just great determination. For him to come back from that injury and come back the way that he did, it didn't surprise me. I can look at Peyton, I can look in his eyes and I know he (wants) to be the best. I knew just watching him through that process that he was going to comeback and he did it. I was hoping that we could get a chance to get him. That's good willpower."
Peterson also was named the winner of the Fed Ex Ground Player of the Year but did not get the Comeback Player of the Year honor.
That went to Manning, who missed 2011 after having neck surgeries. Peterson only missed one game because of his knee injury.
"As an organization, we are extremely proud of Adrian's accomplishments this past season," Vikings owner Mark Wilf said. "He is a great representative of the Minnesota Vikings both on and off the field, and we want to congratulate him on this incredible honor."
Frazier gets votes
The Vikings' Leslie Frazier received three votes in coach of the year voting.
Bruce Arians, who took the Arizona Cardinals coaching job after the season, became the first interim coach to win the honor. Arians, who was the Colts' offensive coordinator, took over the team in late September after coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia.
The Colts went 9-3 under Arians and made the postseason after going 2-14 in 2011. Pagano returned to coach the final game of the regular season and the Colts' playoff game at Baltimore.
Arians received 36½ votes. Pagano finished second with 5½ and Pete Carroll of Seattle received five.
The Associated Press contributed