Adrian Peterson Is the NFL MVP After Minnesota Vikings Clinch Playoff Berth

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIDecember 31, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 30: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball during the third quarter of the game against the Green Bay Packers on December 30, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Packers 37-34. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

What a remarkable season for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

After people questioned whether the sixth-year back would even be ready to start the season for the Vikings, let alone return to being his dominant self, Peterson proved that he's still the NFL's top RB throughout the 16-game schedule.

From start to finish, Peterson made the Vikings his team.

In his first five games back from major leg injuries, Peterson still managed to average 84 yards per game. That, however, was only a glimpse of what was to come.

In Minnesota's final 11 games, Peterson would run for fewer than 150 yards just four times and would fail to hit the 100-yard mark just twice.

When all was said and done, Peterson came within just nine yards of breaking the single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, held by Eric Dickerson.

In the team's final 10 games, Peterson averaged one touchdown per game, putting the team on his back on more than one occasion.

What makes those numbers even more impressive is the fact that as the season went along, teams anticipated the run, yet still couldn't stop him.

Why did teams anticipate the run you may ask?

Well, the Vikings lost their other major playmaker Percy Harvin just nine games into the season, and quarterback Christian Ponder didn't exactly surge as the season went on.

Ponder struggled after the team's 4-1 start, posting a quarterback rating of under 75 in six of the team's final 11 contests.

This meant that the onus was on Adrian Peterson down the stretch when everything was on the line.

Sunday's win over the Green Bay Packers, which propelled the Vikings into the postseason, exemplified why Peterson is the NFL's most valuable player.

Not only did he run for 199 yards on the afternoon, but his 28-yard dash brought the Vikings into field-goal range and set them up for the last-second game winner.

Without Adrian Peterson, who knows how effective the Vikings offense would have been or how many games this team would have won.