The Minnesota Vikings running back was announced Saturday night at "NFL Honors" as the 2012 Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player, a well-earned distinction following one of the most remarkable comeback seasons in the game's history.
Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards, just 9 shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's NFL single-season mark. Peterson put the Vikings on his back, leading them to 10 wins and a playoff berth. It was an epic season of production made even more impressive on the heels of reconstructive surgery of his left knee.
Peterson tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his knee on Dec. 24, 2011, the type of injury known to rob players of the quickness and burst necessary to play at a high level. Peterson had surgery Dec. 30 (leading to the saddest picture ever), but he furiously rehabilitated and never missed a game. World-renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews said Peterson "defied all odds."
Peterson expressed confidence over the past month that he would win both the MVP and Comeback Player of the Year awards. Peyton Manning kept him from the sweep, but we're sure Peterson will sleep well nonetheless. A year of hard work has ended with the NFL's highest individual honor.