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Adrian Peterson Wins MVP, Offensive Player of Year Awards

Minnesota Vikings running back Peterson accepts the NFL MVP award during the NFL Honors awards show in New OrleansMinnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson took the stage in New Orleans Saturday evening to accept the 2012 NFL MVP and offensive player of the year awards.

Peterson had a remarkable comeback year after suffering an ACL injury in December 2011. He rushed for 2,097 yards this season, nine yards short of Eric Dickerson’s ancient record of 2,106 yards.

“My career could have easily been over, just like that,” Peterson said. “Oh man. The things I’ve been through throughout my lifetime has made me mentally tough.”

Peterson was overcome with shock and remained speechless for several seconds when he accepted the awards. He was one of six players to receive awards at the “2nd Annual NFL Honors” show on CBS. The broadcast saluted the best players, performances and plays from the 2012 season. The awards are based on balloting from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL.

Peterson tallied 30½ votes, Peyton Manning 19½ votes for MVP. Peterson was the first running back to win MVP since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.

Even though Manning finished second, he took home the comeback player of the year award.

Peterson, 27, rushed for 12 touchdowns and averaged 6 yards per carry. He also helped the Vikings improve their record to 10-6 and reach a wild-card playoff berth after finishing the season 3-13 in 2011.

“I played my heart out, every opportunity I had,” Peterson said. “The result of that is not what I wanted, which is being in the Super Bowl game. But I have a couple of good pieces of hardware to bring back and (put) in my statue area. So it feels good.”

Peterson said his knee injury was the toughest injury he has to endure, but not the toughest obstacle in life.

“Losing my brother at 7, seeing him get hit by a car right in front of me, that was the toughest,” he said.

The last NFL player to win both MVP and offensive player in the same year was New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in 2010.

Four other award winners joined Peterson and Manning Saturday night. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt won The Associated Press 2012 NFL defensive player of the year award. Former Indianapolis Colts coach Bruce Arians won coach of the year. Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III won The Associated Press offensive rookie award. Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly won The Associated Press 2012 NFL defensive rookie award.

Despite all the awards being handed out, Peterson vowed “to get two or three like Peyton.

“But I won’t be there to accept it because I’ll be winning with my coach, the most important award, the team award, the Super Bowl.”

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