NFL MVP 2012: Adrian Peterson Deserves Award More Than QB Favorites

Michael DulkaContributor IDecember 22, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 16: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on from the sideline against the St. Louis Rams during the game at Edward Jones Dome on December 16, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Vikings won 36-22 as Peterson rushed for 212 yards. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Adrian Peterson's remarkable season should end not only with a chance to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record, but with the MVP trophy as well.

While Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are the favorites for the quarterback-centric award, Peterson is much more deserving.

The MVP award has been dominated by the quarterback position with QBs winning 10 out of the last 12 awards (Peyton Manning and Steve McNair split the award in 2003). While it's true that quarterbacks usually are the most valuable player on most teams, this isn't always the case and shouldn't be assumed that way.  

This season, no player has been more valuable to his team than Peterson has been to the Minnesota Vikings.

A good way to look at this is by looking at where the teams would be without their MVP candidate. 

The Denver Broncos without Peyton Manning are a much more average team, but that defense would still allow them to be competitive most weeks. That drop-off is big, but it's manageable. 

The New England Patriots wouldn't be near the top of the AFC playoffs, but Bill Belichick has proved he can win without Tom Brady. It would be a fairly significant drop-off. 

Without Peterson, the Vikings would be looking at another top draft pick instead of sniffing the NFC playoffs. The drop-off would be tremendous. 

Over the year, Peterson is averaging more yardage per carry (6.3 yards) than Christian Ponder is averaging per attempt (5.9). Peterson's 1,812 rushing yards aren't too far behind Ponder's 2,527 passing yards for the season. 

In addition to embarrassing Ponder with his statistics, Peterson has accounted for 45.3 percent of the Vikings' total offense with 2,023 total rushing and receiving yards.

He's been the Vikings offense and then some this season. 

Teams are stacking the box because they know the Vikings won't be able to move the ball if Peterson can be shut down.

Amazingly it hasn't worked as Peterson has had at least a 20-yard run in 12 of the Vikings' 14 games (and he had a 20-yard reception in one of the two games he didn't have a 20-yard run).

In six games, he's had runs of at least 50 yards.

The harsh reality is that the Vikings likely will need to win their last two games in order for Peterson to get strong consideration. If the Vikings don't make the playoffs, it says little about Peterson and more about his teammates who failed to raise their level of play. 

When considering the rest of the team around him and where the Vikings were a year ago, the playoffs shouldn't factor into the decision. Being their only real offensive weapon, Peterson has led the Vikings to five more wins than last season. 

The quarterbacks have been good this season, but giving one of them the MVP trophy would be a disservice to the award.

Adrian Peterson has been the most valuable player to his team in the 2012 season.

Frankly, it's not even close.