If Adrian Peterson is the team's MVP, he should certainly be the Vikings' offensive player of the year as well.
Putting aside the argument for a moment, let's make this award for the best offensive player from this planet—that would make Peterson ineligible.
The offense has been adequately recognized in the two previous slides with Jerome Simpson earning the Most Improved Player and Jarius Wright the Biggest Surprise of the Year. That kind of thins down the list of potential candidates, provided we don't name any repeat winners.
One unlikely candidate might second-year left tackle Matt Kalil. If Kalil does his job well, most people won't know it. Offensive linemen get noticed mostly when they are flagged for holding, or if they get beaten by a defender for a sack. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required) Kalil only allowed two sacks in 1,056 snaps in 2012 and was penalized only six times.
Certainly, quarterback Christian Ponder is a candidate for this award, provided he can settle down and play consistently throughout the season. Last year he opened the season strong, leading the Vikings to a 4-1 record. He was key in victories over the Jaguars, 49ers, Lions and Titans. His passer rating in these games was 95.4 with six touchdowns and only two interceptions.
In the only loss of the that stretch, Ponder finished with his highest individual passer rating of the year at 114.6. He completed 27 of 35 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
Over the next seven games, the Vikings would go 2-5, and Ponder's performance would correlate precisely. During this stretch his passer rating dropped to 68.1 with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions.
He rebounded for the last four games, leading the Vikings to a 4-0 finish. His passer rating was better at 88.4, as he would throw four touchdowns and only one interception.
If he can avoid another midseason swoon, the Vikings will be in great shape for another playoff run.
One of Ponder's favorite targets has been tight end Kyle Rudolph. The two came into the league together at the Vikings' top two draft picks in 2011. In two seasons Ponder has thrown 32 touchdowns, and 12 of them have gone to Rudolph.
After Percy Harvin was lost for the season in the Seattle game in Week 9, Rudolph led the Vikings with 26 receptions and four touchdowns over the final seven games. His accomplishments for the season were recognized when he was named to the Pro Bowl as an replacement for Tony Gonzalez. He earned the game's MVP honors, finishing with five receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown.
With the addition of Greg Jennings, a healthy Jerome Simpson and rookie Cordarrelle Patterson commanding a bit more attention from the defense this season, Rudolph should find himself open for plenty of passes to come his way.
Winner: Kyle Rudolph