I get the feeling the national collective has made up its mind on this year’s Most Valuable Player, and that decision is: Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
It’s a respectable choice, and this isn’t at all to say Adrian Peterson isn’t fully deserving of the honor. My hypothetical vote still goes to Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
- Rushing Yards as a Percentage of Total Offensive Yards: 49%
- Passing Yards as a Percentage of Total Offensive Yards: 71%
That rushing stat belongs to the Minnesota Vikings; the passing stat belongs to the Denver Broncos. Those numbers are pretty self explanatory, but for the record, 49% of Minnesota’s offensive yards came on the ground while 71% of Denver’s offensive yards came through the air.
Adrian Peterson had a season for the ages, coming nine yards shy of setting a new single season rushing record. He was the vast majority of the Minnesota rushing attack, but not all of it. Twenty percent of the Vikings rushing yards came from players other than Peterson.
Conversely, Peyton Manning provided all but 12 of Denver’s passing yards through 16 games, or 99.998%.
It’s a quarterback’s league, and the selection of Peterson as MVP would be a welcome change of pace. However, if the award truly is about the player providing the most value to a team, it’s hard to argue Manning, leader of a 13-3 team, would take a back seat to Peterson. As fashionable as it is to say the Vikings would be nothing without Peterson because Christian Ponder didn’t exactly light it up at quarterback, the fact still remains that the majority (51%) of Minnesota’s offensive output came from the arm of Ponder.
Take Peterson’s triumphant season out of the equation and chances are good the Vikings aren’t a playoff team. Take Manning, the key behind 71% of Denver’s offensive output off the Broncos and its a guarantee Denver isn’t 13-3, and probably isn’t in the playoffs either.
Both are incredibly deserving, and both would probably love a Lombardi trophy much more than an MVP. At least for Peyton, let’s hope he gets the former.