Due to recent history favoring quarterbacks for the NFL's most prestigious individual, regular season award, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson deserves to win the league's Most Valuable Player for 2012-13.
Just as a reminder: Peterson blew out his knee in Week 16 of the 2011-12 season, then somehow came back for the start of this past campaign without missing a beat. In fact, AP had never been better.
Fumbling issues also seemed to be a thing of the past, as he ran for 2,097 yards on six yards per carry and 12 touchdowns. For good measure, Peterson also added 40 receptions for 217 yards and another score.
And yet it seemed like Peterson was even better than the numbers suggested. His consistently transcendent prowess on a weekly basis was stunning to watch.
Who should win the NFL MVP?
This achievement is particularly impressive in an era where offenses are becoming increasingly reliant on the passing game. The past five winners of the MVP award have been quarterbacks, and in two of those instances it was Peyton Manning.
Now, this is not to take anything away from Manning's outstanding maiden year with the Denver Broncos. After enduring four neck surgeries and not knowing for sure whether he would ever take the gridiron again, the four-time MVP guided Denver to the AFC's No. 1 seed and looked as great as ever.
But that is the same old Manning. It wasn't anything different, and it didn't really transcend any of his other comparably great seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.
It's time for some fresh blood with this award. According to the NFL's Around the League Twitter page, a poll ahead of the award's announcement tends to agree:
"Exit polling" shows Adrian Peterson with a commanding lead over Peyton Manning for Saturday night's MVP award nfl.com/news/story/0ap…— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) February 2, 2013
This is especially true because if not for Peterson, where would the Vikings be? There is no way that team could have made the first round of playoffs.
Second-year Vikings signal-caller Christian Ponder was the last quarterback that started the regular season for his team to throw an interception. Beyond the first several weeks of the season, though, Ponder was mostly awful.
Even against eight- and nine-man boxes designed to shut down Peterson, Ponder wasn't productive at all, as Minnesota ranked 31st in the league with 171.9 yards passing per game.
That didn't stop Peterson from continually ramming through defenders and getting the ball in the end zone.
In Ponder's defense, he didn't have many weapons to work with on the outside, and the loss of top target Percy Harvin for the season in Week 9 was a significant blow. However, that is just a further testament to how dominant Peterson was.
Having that strong of a running game also eats up a lot of clock, shortens the game and gives the defense plenty of time to rest. In terms of worth on a team that wasn't expected to go anywhere prior to the season, it doesn't get much more valuable than Peterson.
Put it this way: If he doesn't win his first MVP award this season, what will Peterson have to do moving forward to capture the accolade?