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Adrian Peterson earned his top spot on 'Top 100' list

Adrian Peterson is the No. 1 player on NFL Network's "The Top 100 Players of 2013" countdown.

It's a well-earned honor for the Minnesota Vikings running back, who shocked the football world by rushing for 2,097 yards in 2012, his first season back following reconstructive knee surgery. He earned the NFL MVP award for his efforts. The "Top 100" ranking shows that Peterson's contemporaries believe there will be more greatness to come.

Denver Broncos quarterback (and fellow all-time Comeback Player of the Century candidate) Peyton Manning came in at No. 2 in the "Top 100." Calvin Johnson, Tom Brady and J.J. Watt rounded out the top five. Check out the full list right here.

"I had a good feeling without being cocky that I would be No. 1," Peterson said on the "Top 100" after show. "I kind of made that assumption with the MVP. I was like, 'Well, I don't see how I wouldn't be No. 1 knowing that I won MVP,' so I kind of put myself there."

We've all had our issues with the "Top 100" rankings, but the players got this right. Peterson put the Vikings on his back for four months, willing an average team to a surprise playoff trip. He ripped off seven runs of more than 50 yards. He gained more than 1,000 yards on the ground after contact. He had more rushing yards than 24 teams.

Peterson became must-see TV as the season progressed. We all were witnesses as a once-in-a-generation talent played the best football of his life.

Peterson fell just nine yards shy of Eric Dickerson's all-time single-season rushing record, but it almost didn't matter. A.P. proved his point. He wasn't the same player when he came back.

He was better.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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