NEW ORLEANS — Adrian Peterson’s sensational season following major knee surgery has earned him the Associated Press 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player Award.
Earlier Saturday, Peterson won Offensive Player of the Year.
The Minnesota Vikings running back finished with 2,019 yards, a mere nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s rushing record. Peterson beat out Peyton Manning, who won Comeback Player of the Year in his first season as Denver’s quarterback contended for a fifth MVP trophy. Manning's four MVPs are a record.
Peterson received 30.5 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. Manning got the other 19.5 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.
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.
Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III won Offensive Rookie of the Year, beating out two other sensational first-year quarterbacks.
Griffin, whose combination of running and passing skills led Washington to its first NFC East title in 13 years, pulled away from Andrew Luck of the Colts and Russell Wilson of the Seahawks. RG3 earned 29 votes.
Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly won Defensive Rookie of the Year. The first-round pick from Boston College led the league with 164 tackles.
Bruce Arians became the first interim coach to win top NFL honors. Now Arizona’s head coach, Arians replaced Chuck Pagano in September when the Colts coach was diagnosed with leukemia.