NFL Honors 2013: Why Adrian Peterson Deserved MVP More Than Peyton Manning

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NFL Honors 2013: Why Adrian Peterson Deserved MVP More Than Peyton Manning
Andy King/Getty Images

Few things stopped Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson throughout the 2012-13 season, and few could stop him again at the 2013 NFL Honors Awards night either.

The Vikings running back ended the speculation about who would win the Most Valuable Player Award—taking home the title with 30.5 votes from a possible 50.

The MVP was always going to either Peterson or Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who had a remarkable first season with his new club after returning from neck surgery. The former Indianapolis Colts star picked up 19.5 votes, but was still well behind Peterson in the award race, with no other players picking up points from the voting process.

And whilst nothing can be taken away from the stellar year that Manning had, there could really only be one MVP this season, and that was Adrian Peterson.

No other player deserved the award more than he did this year.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

As much as Manning might have carried the Broncos throughout the year, Peterson had far less to work with on the ground for the Minnesota Vikings.

The Christian Ponder-led Vikings finished the year with the 31st-ranked passing attack in the NFL, yet they still made the 2013 NFL Playoffs. Manning, on the other hand, had the likes of Willis Macghee for most of the season plus a deceptively strong receiving core on hand as well.

Peterson had essentially nothing around him and despite Percy Harvin's injury and Ponder's occasional self-implosion, he held the Vikings together in 2013.

Without him, there was no way this team was finishing with a winning record, let alone making the playoffs after a remarkable run.

Which, of course, was sparked by Peterson's ground game.

We all know that he finished just nine yards shy of Eric Dickerson's single-season all-time record for rushing yards. We all know that he added 13 touchdowns to his name and single-handedly carried Minnesota to success through the year.

We all know that he did this, of course, after having his knee torn apart less than a year ago and defied the odds even to make it back on to the field. The fact that he achieved such success on it is just testament to how good Peterson was in 2013.

NFC North Lead Writer Andrew Garda puts it this way:

To come off an obliterated knee and run for over 2,000 yards is staggering. That 1,019 yards came after contact is ridiculous. His yards after contact would have placed him as the 16th most effective running back in the league this year. 

It's a phenomenal season even without the massive knee reconstruction. Add that in, and what can you say?

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Manning no doubt starred in his return season under new management and offense, and was a huge reason behind the Broncos' success this year.

But, unlike Peterson, the Broncos had a strong defense and could make plays offensively without Manning. The Vikings could seemingly do nothing without their star.

The case could be made that Manning had a better year, accounted for more points and finished the season with a better record than Peterson.

All of which is true.

Photo via ESPN Twitter (@espn)

But at the end of the day, Peterson had the second-greatest season a running back has ever had, and he did it without the support of a great offensive line or team around him and with the knowledge that he had torn his ACL only a couple of months back.

An award that could have gone either way went the right way.

Peterson is the Everest of running backs right now, and has reportedly already set his sights on a staggering 2,500 yard-season next year.

We'd normally be quick to play down the feasibility of such a goal, but seeing Peterson in action throughout the year, you really can't rule anything out at the moment.

Especially not if he's gunning for the MVP again.

 

Was Adrian Peterson the right call for the 2013 MVP Award?

Comment below or hit me up on Twitter:  


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