Peterson Tops Manning for MVP

New Orleans — Adrian Peterson’s sensational season following major knee surgery has earned him The Associated Press 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player Award.

Earlier yesterday, Peterson won Offensive Player of the Year and Manning was named comeback player of the year.

The Minnesota Vikings running back finished with 2,019 yards, a mere 9 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s rushing record. Peterson beat out Peyton Manning, who in his first season as Denver’s quarterback contended for a fifth MVP trophy. Manning’s four are a record.

Peterson received 30 1/2 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. Manning got the other 19 1/2 votes.

Peterson led the Vikings from a 3-13 mark to 10-6 and a wild-card playoff berth. He is the first running back to win MVP since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.

The Redskins’ Robert Griffin III beat out fellow quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Bruce Arians became the first interim coach to win NFL Coach of the Year honors. Now the head coach in Arizona, he replaced Chuck Pagano in September when the Colts’ coach was diagnosed with leukemia. Arians went 9-3 before Pagano returned, and Indianapolis made the playoffs at 10-6, making Arians an easy winner.

Houston end J.J. Watt swatted the competition for Defensive Player of the Year, getting 49 votes; Denver’s Von Miller got the other in the most lopsided balloting of all the awards.

“In my plans it was there,” Watt said of being honored. He led the NFL with 20 1-2 sacks and also blocked an astounding 16 passes. “It sets the bar for me. I want to go out and do even better. I want to do even bigger things.”

Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly, the league’s leader in tackles with 164, won the top defensive rookie award.