The 2012 NFL MVP award won't be announced until Saturday night's "NFL Honors" awards ceremony, but the "exit polling" compiled by the MVP voting blog suggests Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has a commanding lead over Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Based on public statements by The Associated Press voters via Twitter and television coverage, the blog has counted 17 votes for Peterson versus only six for Manning.
While the results are obviously incomplete, the results are convincing enough to predict that Peterson will take home his first MVP award while Manning will fall short of his fifth award. Peterson needs just nine of the final 27 votes to clinch.
After shredding his knee in December 2011, Peterson fell just nine yards shy of breaking NFL great Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record. He would have broken the record had he not rested his groin and abdomen during garbage time of the Week 16 victory over the Houston Texans. Peterson was not only the first rushing leader to average at least 6 yards per carry since Barry Sanders in 1997, he also accrued 336 more yards after contact than the next-closest back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin.
Esteemed NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell has called Peterson's 2012 performance the greatest individual offensive season in NFL history.
"I've been doing this a long time," Cosell added. "I'm usually not wowed when I watch stuff. I'm wowed when I watch (Peterson)."
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.