Adrian Peterson was the only unanimously selected offensive NFL All-Pro team member, according to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com. The Associated Press got this one right, but honors awarded to the man that they call All Day should not stop there: Peterson should be named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for 2012.
An All-Pro nod—especially a unanimous one—is a step in that direction. It’s recognition that Peterson was the best player at his position, which happens to be one loaded with talent: Seattle Seahawks hammer Marshawn Lynch, Washington Redskins rookie Alfred Morris and Kansas City Chiefs road-runner Jamaal Charles join AD as All-Pro first- or second-team running backs.
Those three guys finished between second and fourth in total rushing during the regular season. Peterson was head and shoulders ahead of his contemporaries, finishing 484 yards ahead of second-place rusher Morris. It took him just 13 more carries to do that.
Aside from the Comeback Player of the Year award, the next honor for Peterson would be the Offensive Player of the Year title. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady won both the NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year distinctions following the 2010 season; the two are not mutually exclusive.
It’s hard to keep the Offensive Player of the Year trophy from a guy that led the league with 2,314 scrimmage yards when the second-highest total—1,964 by Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions—fell 350 yards short. Still, the honors shouldn’t stop there.
Every Minnesota Vikings player not named Adrian Peterson finished with fewer than 300 yards rushing and 700 yards receiving. No other player in a Vikings uniform eclipsed Percy Harvin’s 773 scrimmage yards; Harvin had not suited up since Week 9. Nevertheless, Minnesota won each of its last four games—scoring 29.3 points per contest—in order to secure a postseason berth despite quarterback Christian Ponder’s 2,935 passing yards.
Peterson was the Vikings offense. Everybody knew it, and he still carried his team into the playoffs at 10-6.
Never mind that he was coming off a torn ACL which did not reach its first anniversary until Week 16. All Day doesn’t need that caveat to show that he was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2012. An MVP award would simply solidify what he already knows—but will he get the hardware?
For more NFL analysis, follow Jamal on Twitter: Follow @StatManJ.