Originally posted 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.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

What does Tevin Coleman’s return mean for Devonta Freeman?

Antonio Cromartie: Odell Beckham Jr. a ‘one hit wonder’

Thompson fires shots at Clippers: ‘Didn’t they lose to the Rockets?’

'Sell high' and 'buy low' fantasy candidates

Marshawn Lynch ruled out by Seahawks for Week 5

Howard says he played through torn MCL, meniscus in playoffs


Bills offensive progress stalled by injuries

Bruins’ Zac Rinaldo: Raffi Torres’ suspension 'really opened my eyes’

Cowboys’ Sean Lee cleared to play vs. Patriots after concussion battle

NHL Dept. of Player Safety inconsistent with discipline?

Tennessee desperate for big win over #19 Georgia

UCLA punter Adam Searl arrested on suspicion of rape

WATCH: Prince Fielder wipes out trying to climb over dugout railing

Dwight Howard, image & Houston's title chances

What’s wrong with Ohio State’s offense?

Weeden: ‘I don’t need a 12-yr-old telling me how to play’

Fan at Texas A&M game was so drunk, he reportedly told police he was at Baylor vs. Texas Tech

10 unheralded NFL players who will impact Week 5

Mallett’s dad: Criticism of QB makes his grandmothers cry

LSU has sold a disappointing amount of tickets for South Carolina game

Five potential upsets in NFL Week 5

Why the Carolina Panthers are the NFL's next super power

Six biggest matchups in Week 6 of the college football season

Dalton motivated by getting booed at celebrity softball game

Which undefeated college team has best résumé?

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dwight Howard, image & Houston's title chances

10 unheralded NFL players who will impact Week 5

Five potential upsets in NFL Week 5

Why the Carolina Panthers are the NFL's next super power

NHL Department of Player Safety inconsistent in disciplining players?

Explaining the silence on Thabo Sefolosha’s police brutality trial

Six biggest matchups in Week 6 of CFB

Joe Maddon's defensive calculus

Sepp Blatter appeals FIFA suspension

Looking at four NHL goaltenders who debuted for new teams

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker