Sorry, Peyton Manning, but Adrian Peterson Is Clearly This Year's MVP

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IJanuary 1, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 16: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings rushes for an 82-yard touchdown in the first half 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. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Now it is settled.

Adrian Peterson, not Peyton Manning, deserves the NFL MVP award. 

The Denver Broncos quarterback had an absolutely terrific 2012 season, leading his team to a 13-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.

He finished year second in the league with a 105.8 QB rating, tied with Matt Ryan for the highest completion percentage (68.6), threw for over 4,600 yards and tossed 37 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions. 

Manning's value cannot be questioned. 

Adrian Peterson finished second in the league with 348 carries, ran away with the rushing title with 2,097 yards and tallied 12 touchdowns on the ground. 

Peterson's value, too, cannot be questioned. 

However, there's really not much of a debate as to who was more valuable to his respective team. 

In 2011, the Broncos made the playoffs with Tim Tebow under center for the majority of the season. Demaryius Thomas is an elite receiving talent. Eric Decker is a solid chain-mover with deep-threat potential. Von Miller spearheads an underrated defense, and the offensive line is sturdy.

A year ago, the Vikings went 3-13 and, according to Football Outsiders, and finished 30th in points per drive allowed despite a ridiculous 22-sack campaign from defensive end Jared Allen. 

With some new pieces in place this season, the Vikings defense improved to an 18th-place finish in the most points-per-drive metric; the Broncos ended the year in fifth.

On offense, Peterson was provided little-to-no help, and the opposition knew he was coming in every game. 

Christian Ponder's yards-per-attempt average actually dropped from his rookie campaign, and he threw for an average of 183.4 yards per game. His season total of 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions was far from intimidating. 

Peyton Manning had a Peyton Manning year, which usually is MVP-worthy, but he simply elevated an already postseason-caliber team to the top seed in the AFC—a fine feat. 

But Peterson took a significantly less talented club and made it a 10-win playoff team in a division with the 10-6 Chicago Bears and the 11-win Green Bay Packers

Oh, and he nearly broke the single-season rushing record. 

He is the 2012 NFL MVP.