NFL Atlanta FalconsHouston TexansMinnesota VikingsNew England PatriotsNew York Giants

Top 2012 NFL MVP Candidates Heading into October

1 of 6

Who are the Top NFL MVP Contenders heading into October?

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012 NFL season is now at the first quarter mark as the overall picture continues to take shape. That means that the season is mature enough to take a quick peak at the early MVP candidates.

Although several players have wasted no time finding their way into the spotlight as the 2012 campaign got under way, there are a select few who have lit up the NFL with their electrifying abilities to consistent make impact plays.

From quarterbacks to defensive linemen, the NFL is full of playmakers looking to help their team achieve that final frontier of greatness: a Super Bowl win. Week in and week out, it only takes one player to make the difference for a team on the verge of victory. Each season, though, there is that one special player whose impact cannot be measured by stats or the win-loss column. Their impact is instead measured in the on-field impact and overall effort that they leave on the field every Sunday.

Last season, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hauled in the NFL’s most coveted hardware after helping his team to a 15-1 regular season finish. Considering the Packers’ lackluster start to the 2012 season, though, he hasn’t yet allowed talks about a repeat to begin.

Enough about all of the mundane details regarding the NFL’s MVP award, though. Let’s take a look at the top five early MVP candidates and what they’ve done so far to put their names on the radar. Enjoy.

2 of 6

Eli Manning, Quarterback, New York Giants


The torch has been passed between the brothers as Eli appears to have inherited the role as the NFL’s best Manning. Since the 2012 season kicked off, Manning has done a terrific job of showing that he has made the jump to the elite level of quarterbacks. He’s second in the NFL in passing yards and hasn't had too much trouble keeping the New York Giants offense alive despite a few disappointing defeats this season. If he can keep the team resilient and notch wins consistently, Manning will be in the race until the finish.

3 of 6

Percy Harvin, Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

If only Harvin would play quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, he would be the ultimate NFL player. Combining elite abilities as a runner, receiver and returner, the Minnesota utility man is currently leading the league in yards from scrimmage and has become a staple in the Vikings’ offensive attack. Even with Adrian Peterson back to full strength, it appears that Bill Musgrave doesn’t plan on cutting Harvin some slack anytime soon. Harvin is my darkhorse for the MVP race.

4 of 6

Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots


Surprise, surprise. As is an annual occurrence, Brady has gotten the New England Patriots off to a solid start with his elite passing skills and uncanny abilities as a game manager. He blew the Buffalo Bills apart in Week 4 and has helped the Patriots field the top scoring offense in the NFL. Above all, he’s doing what he does best: putting the ball into his playmakers’ hands and letting them work. Barring an injury, Brady should reclaim his yearly spot near the top of the MVP candidate list.

5 of 6

J.J. Watt, Defensive End, Houston Texans


After an impressive rookie season, Watt is quickly proving during his sophomore campaign that he’s deserving of the “NFL’s best defender” tag that people are starting to pin to his chest. He’s already racked up a league-leading 7.5 sacks through four games and has been a complete menace along the Houston Texans defensive front. If he can keep this pace and continue to dominate at will, it’s not out of the question to think that he could be an MVP candidate in 2012.

6 of 6

Matt Ryan, Quarterback, Atlanta Falcons

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

After his Week 4 comeback against the Carolina Panthers, Ryan solidified himself as arguably the top MVP candidate at this early point in the 2012 season. He has amassed a 112.1 passer rating through four games, currently tops is the league. Even with an inconsistent running game, Ryan has lifted the Atlanta Falcons offense onto his shoulders and carried it to a 4-0 start. If his copious production continues to translate to wins, Ryan will easily be the top vote-getter when all is said and done.