NFL Minnesota Vikings

5 Reasons Why Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson Deserves NFL MVP Consideration

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5 Reasons Adrian Peterson Is NFL MVP Material

Adrian Peterson MVP
Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

Week 14 of the NFL season is upon us, and it’s the time of year when the playoff picture really starts to clear itself up. Some teams who have looked strong will falter, and perhaps a dark horse team will begin its own run to glory this Sunday afternoon.

The race for the playoffs isn’t the only thing heating up right now. The jockeying for position to be named the league MVP is about to reach a fever pitch as well. For the most part, all your usual suspects are involved. At the top, of course, there’s Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. As good as Manning was in 2012, his first season in the Mile High City, he’s somehow raising the bar even higher this year. Manning’s got his eyes on all kinds of passing records, but another Super Bowl championship is his goal.

Then, there are the other electric quarterbacks. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson are all lighting up scoreboards each weekend and will have their teams in prime playoff condition. Any one of them can make a strong case for the NFL’s top individual honor.

There are a handful of other candidates, but one player if you ask me, is getting the short end of the deal and being completely ignored. He’s a former league MVP, a near guaranteed Hall of Famer at the current pace, and one of the best players in all of football.

That’s right, Adrian Peterson is having one of the better years of his already illustrious career, and there’s no talk of his possible repeat as league MVP.

Not that he needs my help, or even that it would do any good, but if you ask me - and that’s why you’re reading this, right? – Peterson deserves serious consideration for the MVP award. Click through to see why, and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Brandon Raper is a golf writer and NFL contributor for “Like” him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @Brandon__Raper, and join him on Google+.

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5) League-Leading Rusher

Rushing Title
Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

Through 12 games, Peterson leads Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy by over 100 yards, at 1,208. Averaging 4.6 yards per carry and with 10 scores, “All Day” may not be on the record-breaking pace he hit last year, but another year removed from major knee surgery, he’s still the game’s best running back by far.

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4) Driving Force Of The Vikings' Offense

Vikings Driving Force
Bruce Kluckhohn - USA TODAY Sports

While Peterson has been mostly solid all year, what’s telling is his stat line in the team’s three wins. In week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he rushed 23 times for 140 yards and two scores. Week 10 against Washington he repeated that touchdown performance despite being held to just 75 yards. In last week’s overtime win against Chicago, he didn’t score, but his long run in overtime was the key to setting up Blair Walsh’s eventual game-winning field goal. The team goes as Peterson goes.

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3) Inept Quarterback Play

Poor Quarterback Play
Steven Bisig - USA TODAY Sports

Most of the names being discussed for the MVP right now are quarterbacks, and for good reason. In today’s NFL, your team is pretty much dead in the water without a quality signal caller. Playing behind Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, and (technically) Josh Freeman, Peterson has had almost no support in the passing game, which makes his performance this year that much more impressive.

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2) Reliable Receiving Option

Benny Sieu - USA TODAY Sports

On one hand, the Vikings really lack anything resembling a formidable passing attack. On the other, Peterson has sure enough hands that he can play all three downs reliably, and is on pace for another decent receiving year. For a team that’s been playing from behind as much as the Vikings have this year, it’s a huge benefit not to have to take the best player in the game off the field.

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1) MVP: Most "Valuable" Player

Most Valuable Player
Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

One of my biggest pet peeves with MVP awards is that they turn into “Best Player on the Best Team” awards. This isn’t to say that players like Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson aren’t driving forces to their teams’ success this season, just that it would be a huge mistake to ignore Peterson’s contributions to the Vikings. As bad as they’ve looked with Peterson, they’d be completely irrelevant without him.