Before we start, if you somehow don't understand the level of Adrian Peterson's Adrian Peterson-ness, then read Fearless Leader's article on the situation here. Actually, you know what? If you are a Vikings fan and a reader of the Daily Norseman, and you don't know about Adrian Peterson's Adrian Peterson-ness, please identify yourself in the comments below so that I can remove you permanently from our presence.
Right now the debate is raging about who should win the Comeback Player of the Year award and the MVP, and basically both boil down to Adrian Peterson vs. Peyton Manning. Further involved in that debate is whether or not just one of those two should win both awards, or whether whoever loses out on the MVP would receive the CPOY award as "consolation". Honestly, I like Peterson's chances at both, but I'm biased.
However, there are some really, really stupid arguments floating around out there on this issue. First off, and this one REALLY gets up my craw, is the babbling mouth-breather garbage that is "but Peterson only missed one game dur dur!". So, you're saying that because Peterson was injured at the end of the season as opposed to the beginning of the season, his injury and subsequent recovery is less impressive? It would make sense if, say, Peterson had only missed one game last season but played another after. But the truth is he only missed one game because there was only one game left. It's not like he could have returned at some point otherwise. Peterson's recovery and return from the injury breaks barriers, it truly does. Yes, Wes Welker returned very quickly from an ACL tear as well; but what people seem to forget is that AP tore more than "just" his ACL!!! He tore his MCL and a meniscus as well. That's considerably more significant than "just" an ACL, which is traumatic enough.
There is an even more insidious issue at hand here. Without the Vikings reaching the playoffs, AP will not win the MVP at the least. It's ridiculous but, just like having rings matters for getting into the Hall of Fame, being on a playoff team matters for winning the MVP. The last player to win MVP without his team reaching the playoffs was OJ Simpson in 1973. That's a very, very long time, and I refuse to believe that there wasn't someone in that time period who didn't deserve the MVP despite his team's playoff results.
If you ask me, the MVP should be based on this singular metric: how would the team fare without that player? Obviously this is nigh impossible to truly quantify, but you can make educated guesses. Last year, the Broncos made the playoffs- and even won a game- with TIM TEBOW under center. (Granted, he wasn't there the entire season, but things did turn around once he showed up.) Yes, they are much, much better this year with Peyton Manning having taken Tebow's place, and honestly my money's on them at least making the Super Bowl. But it's not like they're a bottom-feeder team without him.
The Vikings? Let's all be very, very honest here. Without Adrian Peterson, we are likely a bottom 5 team this year. Sure, some of our early wins didn't involve him to the extent as our latter wins, but you cannot tell me that as much of a role as he has been on our offense that we would be anywhere near 8-6 and looking at a playoff berth. Heck, we'd be battling the Lions for ‘NFC North embarrassment of the year'. I'm not slamming Toby Gerhart when I say that, but there's no way he could be the feature player (not just feature back) that Peterson has been. Without Peterson, nobody's stacking the box or keying in on him, and our oft woeful passing game would be a tragedy on par with the Jets- if not worse. And our overall offense? Probably just non-existent, especially once Percy Harvin went down.
So who has more impact on their team? Who has been a more valuable player for their respective franchise- Peyton Manning or Adrian Peterson? I don't even think there's a debate there. Truly, if the MVP worked the way it should, we wouldn't be discussing it: people would just be engraving his name in it already. But of course that's not how it works. There's a strong bias towards quarterbacks, and an even stronger bias towards players on playoff-caliber teams.
It all comes down to that, for better or worse. If the Vikings get into the playoffs, I truly believe Peterson will win the MVP. If we are watching from home, I'm saying 90% that Manning nabs it. The one hope Peterson has is if he breaks Eric Dickerson's record, which is by and far not out of the realm of possibility (honestly after his game against St. Louis, I'd say it's more possible than not). And yet I'm still not sold that would nab him the MVP, because this is a season where we also see Michael Strahan's sack record and Jerry Rice's receiving yards record being threatened. I genuinely fear the possibility that if AP gets the record, he'll just end up becoming a footnote in "a season of broken records". Sigh.
Even worse is if the ridiculous "he only missed one game!" argument robs him the CPOY award as well, and AP just goes home empty handed. In the beginning, I felt that the fact that Manning had multiple neck surgeries meant he- I know, I know- deserved it more. Why have I changed my mind? The simple fact that post surgery, mind you a surgery that would effectively end many a lesser back's career, Peterson has had his greatest career season to date. Manning has been very impressive, and I won't deny him that- but it's not been his greatest season. It ranks up there, sure- but it's not "the" season of his career.
But this is also the same league that gave the CPOY award to a guy who missed time because of prison, instead of a guy who was the first NFL player to ever return from a fractured femur. (If you ask me, CPOY should never, ever count for a guy who missed time because of a felony. Period.) This is a league that didn't count Jared Allen's sack against Aaron Rodgers, ultimately denying him his own record. I don't buy into the theories that the league is truly biased against the Vikings as a particular franchise, but they certainly don't often do us any favors.
Can Adrian Peterson beat Eric Dickerson's record? Oh I think it's more likely than not. Heck, he's got the leg up currently- as of the season right now, he's got more yards at this point than Dickerson did when he set the record. And when you've got a guy who gets shut down for 8 carries and then explodes on the 9th for an 82 yard TD run... well, the sky's the limit. And it's not like teams can focus more on him to try and prevent the record, as I'm pretty sure they're all trying their best to stop him as it is. But what are Peterson's odds of winning the MVP and/or the CPOY award? So sadly, I feel they are less than good.
What say you, my fellow Norsemen/ women? What are Peterson's odds on winning the awards he so richly deserves?