Adrian Peterson should run away with the NFL's MVP award for the 2012 season, but the quarterback-driven NFL could hurt his cause. Despite strong seasons from Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, Peterson is far more deserving of the NFL's most prestigious individual award.
Peterson's season will go down as one of the most dominant seasons of all time from the running back position. He finished second all time in rushing yards over a season with 2,097 yards, behind only Eric Dickerson's mark of 2,105 yards in 1984.
While both seasons were remarkable, Peterson managed to come within eight yards of Dickerson's record with 31 fewer attempts. During the 1984 season, Dickerson ran the ball 379 times for an average of 5.6 yards per carry. During the 2012 season, Peterson ran the ball 348 times for an average of 6.0 yards per carry.
During his record-breaking season, Dickerson added 139 yards through the air. Peterson had 217 receiving yards this season. Dickerson had 14 touchdowns, Peterson had 13 touchdowns. During 1984, Dan Marino was named MVP with a sensational year and quarterback rating of 108.9.
This year, there was no Marino-type season from an NFL quarterback. Brady, Manning and Rodgers all played well and put up ridiculous numbers, but none of them played exceptionally better than any of the others in that group.
Peterson carried the Minnesota Vikings on his back throughout the season. When Percy Harvin's season ended with an injury, Peterson was left as the Vikings' only weapon. He made Christian Ponder look good throughout the year by pulling defenders up.
There was no player in the NFL who was more dominant and valuable to his team than Adrian Peterson was to the Vikings. His monstrous running style throughout the season not only kept them in games, but gave them chances.
Peterson led his Vikings from three wins the previous season to 10 this year. He changed the dynamic of the team and how defenses could attack them with his play.
While voting had already taken place, he showed his value during the Vikings' playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers completely sold out to stop the run and held Peterson to 99 yards on 22 carries.
With Peterson not able to dominate and run over 150 yards, the Vikings offense completely fell out of whack. Maybe the story is different with Christian Ponder in the game, but the Vikings' success revolved around Peterson.
It would be a disgrace for the MVP award to be given to any other play in the league. If it goes to one of the quarterbacks, it's a clear shift that the award really means best quarterback in the league rather than actually being for the most valuable player.
Peterson put together one of the most memorable and historic individual NFL seasons the league has seen. There should be no debate about the MVP. It's clearly Adrian Peterson.