Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/2/13

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 6: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings runs past Calais Campbell #93 of the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 6, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The battle for NFL Most Valuable Player was expected to be a tight race, as Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning both made strong cases for their candidacy. But in the end, it was the Vikings tailback who ran away with it, taking home both MVP and Offensive Player of the Year honors from the Associated Press. Peterson not only recorded one of the most statistically impressive seasons by a running back in NFL history, he did so less than a year after tearing his ACL — an injury that often sidelines players for a full season. His league-leading 2,109 rushing yards fell just nine short of Eric Dickerson‘s NFL record as Peterson almost single-handedly carried the Vikings’ offense to the postseason. Manning did receive some consolation, however, as he was awarded the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. The signal caller missed the entire 2011 season with a neck injury, but did not take long to return to his former self. Manning led the Broncos to the AFC’s best record in 2012, throwing for 37 touchdowns with 11 interceptions while completing a league-best 68.6 percent of his passes. J.J. Watt had one of the greatest seasons ever on the defensive side of the ball in 2012, and the AP gave that dominance its due. The Texans defensive end was the nearly unanimous winner of the AP’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, receiving 49 of 50 votes. Watt finished his second season with an NFL-leading 20.5 sacks and an NFL-record 16 passes tipped, earning him the nickname “J.J. Swat.” Watt’s historic season overshadowed stellar campaigns by San Francisco’s Aldon Smith and Denver’s Von Miller — who tallied 19.5 and 18.5 sacks, respectively.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

Dallas Mavericks solidify future with Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan signings

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Jeanie Buss: Brother Jim will step down if Lakers don't make deep run within two seasons

DeAndre Jordan to Dallas: The Los Angeles Clippers are literally mad men

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

Mets coach on slump: The only thing left is human sacrifice

MLB teams who will continue to surprise in second half

2015 Women’s World Cup Final: The Rematch

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.