With the regular season completely wrapped up, there is no arguing about who is at the head of the discussion for the NFL MVP Award. Both Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson are so far ahead of any other candidates that no one outside of the two superstars is even worth discussing.
But who deserves the award more? Do you give it to the quarterback who came back from multiple neck surgeries after his career was up in the air and transformed a borderline Denver Broncos team into one of the league’s elite? Or do you go with the Minnesota Vikings running back who fell just nine yards shy of breaking the single season rushing record less than a year after tearing his ACL?
There are few players that can step into almost any starting lineup in the league and instantly make everyone around him better. Manning is one of those guys. He’s helped transform Demaryius Thomas into one of the league’s elite receivers. He’s saved the career of Knowshon Moreno. He has indirectly helped the defense and special teams to improve based off of what he’s done on offense.
Manning finished with almost 4,700 yards and 37 touchdowns while throwing just 11 interceptions. Those numbers are unheard of for a 36-year-old, let alone one who didn’t even know if he was going to be playing again less than a year ago. His performance has helped the Broncos cruise to the top seed in the AFC.
Peterson’s stats really need no introduction. He ran for more than 2,000 yards, including more than 800 in the month of December alone. He can’t claim responsibility for making his team better in all phases, but he is the no. 1 reason that a Vikings team that was expected to be awful is playoff-bound.
Heck, you could even make the case that the two should take home a co-MVP award. The more likely scenario is that one takes home the MVP and the other is named the Comeback Player of the Year.
There really is no incorrect answer as to who deserves the award more than the other. But if the choice has to come down to just one, it has to be Manning. The Broncos may have overhauled their system, but not the personnel. He took a group that was in a stagnant offense in 2011, led by Tim Tebow, and has turned them into one of the top units in the league.
He has made everyone on that team better and deserves to win the unprecedented fifth MVP award of his career.