MVP: is there really any question that it’s Adrian Peterson?

He’s having a historic year, and while Manning is getting a lot of MVP talk, it’s bullshit. He’s on pace to have about his third best season. I know there’s the whole comeback story, but Peterson’s is just as good, and I don’t think either of them should count. You’re not more valuable just because you were hurt last year.

Not only is Peterson on pace to break the all-time rushing record, he’s doing it with just over 20 carries per game. His yards-per-carry average of 6.3 will also be a new record if it holds up. For me, though, the most impressive part of all is the fact that he’s doing it against 9 man fronts. The Vikings are dead last in passing, and it’s not even close. Peterson is rushing for more yards per carry than Christian Ponder is throwing for per passing attempt. He’s unquestionably the league’s most valuable player in the literal sense this year.

If you don’t care about that, compare his production to the league’s other running backs; nobody else is averaging even 99 yards per game; Peterson is averaging 129. He has 20 rushes of 20-plus yards; CJ Spiller is next with 11. He has 8 carries of 40+ yards; nobody else has more than 4. Yeah, he’s not a great receiver, but he has 38 catches for 211 yards, which isn’t bad - and look at his quarterback. Despite that, he’s leading the league in yards from scrimmage by more than 350 (Calvin Johnson is second, Doug Martin a close third).

The only thing Peterson isn’t doing particularly well is scoring touchdowns, and he’s tied for second at that.

It’s not as though he’s torching a bunch of soft teams, either. He went for 123 against Tampa, the league’s top rush defense, who have allowed only four 100 yard team performances this year. He’s run for 108 and 154 yards against the Bears, who are 11th in rush defense. He ran for 86 against the #3 ranked 49ers when he was still getting his strength back in Week 2. 79 against Washington, #6. He ran for 182 against #10 Seattle on the road, where the Seahawks are un-runnable-on (no other 100 yard games by any team). 210 against #14 Green Bay.

Defensive POTY: I think JJ Watt will probably end up winning this (19.5 sacks, 74 tackles), but it ought to be Peanut Tillman. 10 forced fumbles by a cornerback is amazing, and he’s got two picks to go with them, both of which he returned for scores. He’s also fifth in tackles among corners.

Offensive POTY: Ordinarily, I would give this to Calvin Johnson (assuming Peterson can’t have this one too), but he just hasn’t scored enough this season. Aaron Rodgers is leading the league in passer rating, but he doesn’t have enough yards. Brees is leading everyone in yards and touchdowns, but he’s turned the ball over a ton. I could make an argument for RGIII - phenomenally efficient, hasn’t turned it over, record rushing numbers. Honestly, though, it’s probably Brandon Marshall. He is the Bears’ passing game, and he’s much closer than anyone else to the catches-yards-scores trifecta.

There are a lot of perfectly fine contenders, and I certainly won’t be outraged if Tom Brady or Peyton Manning wins.

But I would definitely vote for Adrian Peterson. He’s doing everything with minimal help, after all. NOBODY is afraid of Christian Ponder! Defenses are concentrating on stopping Adrian Peterson, and he’s STILL putting up huge numbers! Everybody KNOWS he’s the Vikings’ only real weapon, everybody KNOWS he’s coming, and they STILL can’t stop him.

Very few players have achieved as much with so little help.

Incidentally, no knock on Johnny Manziel, but Peterson deserved the Heisman as a freshman, too.

Yeah, I thought so at the time too. Jeez. Can’t believe I voted for three NFC North (a/k/a "the black and blue and fucking boring division) players.

There’s really only one other player on the Minnesota offense worth worrying about – Percy Harvin. Part of what’s made Peterson’s recent weeks impressive is that he’s done so much when even Harvin is out, meaning that the defenses are focusing even more on him.

Just one parenthetical note on Peterson’s 214 yards against the Packers – of those yards, 153 were on three runs: an 82-yard TD in the second quarter, a 48-yard run to open the third quarter, and a 23-yarder to end the third quarter (which turned out to be his final carry of the game). Both the second and third of those long runs were followed up, two plays later, by Christian Ponder interceptions which killed those drives. The rest of Peterson’s day wasn’t terribly special (18 carries, 57 yards, long of 8).

It reminded me a little bit of a typical Barry Sanders outing – huge yardage total, driven almost entirely by a couple of long runs.

You say this as if it diminishes his performance or something, but it doesn’t do that for me. Things I learned from your post:

  1. Peterson put up 214 against the Packers.
  2. He had three long (two of them amazingly long) runs in one game.
  3. He did it all in 3 quarters.

Sounds pretty awesome to me.

I was mostly trying to provide some context behind his 200+ yard output in that game. If you don’t know the details, it may suggest that Peterson was shredding the Packers’ run defense all day (pun intended). Well, not really: he broke off two great runs, had another very good run…and otherwise didn’t do a whole lot.

But, there’s another good point which you note: he did that in three quarters. The Packers intercepted Ponder on the final play of the third quarter, then ground out an 11-minute drive which ended with a field goal. That took the ball out of Peterson’s hands – the Vikings were then down by 9 points, with only 4 minutes left, and they only ran the ball once more (on a scramble by Ponder).

So Peterson did better on the rushes where he got more yards than on the ones where he didn’t get as many yards.

Well, duh. :smiley:

What I’m trying to say, and obviously I’m not being terribly articulate (or perhaps you guys just don’t agree) is that two huge runs in amongst 20 other very short runs might not be an “awesome performance”. I’m not sure which I’d prefer as a coach: that performance, or a game in which he breaks off a 10-15 yard run every three or four carries, and is able to consistently keep the chains moving.

OTOH, please don’t get me wrong – I do think he’s probably the MVP, and I’d surely like to see him on the Packers (or at least in the AFC, so the Packers didn’t have to face him so often).

I would challenge ou to find too many 200+ yardage games that don’t have a couple of long runs in them.

I think it is Peterson for MVP, and it is a lock if they make the playoffs, IMO. For Defensive POTY I think Watt wins, with Aldon Smith and Von Miller close behind. For Offensive POTY I really do think it should be Calvin Johnson if he beats Jerry Rice’s record. He is kind of the opposite of Peterson, the Lions have little or no running game and not a single other receiver to pull attention away. But he only has 5 TDs and the Lions aren’t very good. For Defensive ROTY I am going with Casey Heyward of the Packers and RGIII as Offensive ROTY (Runners-up: Andrew Luck, Doug Martin, Alfred Morris)

I think Doug Martin ought to win Offensive ROTY, but it will probably be RGIII that actually wins. Haward only started 5 games, so I have a hard time with him as Defensive ROTY. For me it’s Morris Claiborne or Luke Kuechly. Lavonte David has an outside shot; he’s been a starter from Day 1 and has called the Buccaneers’ defense. Hasn’t made many splash plays though.

Again, that’s not really the point I was trying to make. What I was saying was that, other than those couple of long runs, he didn’t do a whole lot in that game (though that was, at least in part, due to his team falling behind, and the Packers’ effective ball control in the fourth quarter). Three long (23+ yards) runs, and nothing else longer than 8 yards.

Nope in 1963 Jim Brown rushed for 1863 yards on 291 carries for a 6.40 yards per carry average. That was in a 14 game season so he also averaged over 20 carries per game. He also had 24 receptions for 268 more yards. As I recall these wer emostly screen passes.

Incidentally his partner in the backfield was Ernie Green who rushed for 526 yards in 87 carries for a 6.0 average. I think he got sprung free for big gains because the defense always keyed on Brown.

I’m fine with Peterson or Manning, but dismissing Peyton because he’s only having “his third best season” is absurd. Just because Manning has had more than a decade of excellent seasons doesn’t mean this one is any less significant. It’s a contradiction to say on one hand that Manning doesn’t get credit for being hurt last season and also say Manning doesn’t get credit because this season is only just as good as past seasons. Don’t penalize Peyton because he sets the bar high, this season has been something new entirely.

Manning’s injury story was so over report that it’s now underrated. Unlike Peterson, Manning’s career was in jeopardy and no one has ever had a similar injury scenario. As late as week two there was widespread question that Manning could throw at an NFL level. And to do all this at 36? In a completely new city and organization? Incredible, unbelievable. And let’s not forget that QBs are just more important than RBs to begin with.

I’m kinda hoping for Co-MVPs and Co-Comeback Players of the Year. That would be a fitting end.

If I had to vote right now I’d go Manning for MVP and Peterson for OPOTY/Comeback POTY. But I’m switching to Peterson if he breaks the rushing record. That’s too significant an achievement to ignore.

I hope Fletcher Cox gets some love for DROTY. He won’t though, because despite how much exposure the Eagles get, they consistently have the most under-appreciated players in the league (see: Cole, Trent). Cox is third in the NFL in sacks as a DT, and his numbers are comparable in every category to Geno Atkins (except sacks, of course). He’s been the Eagles’ best defensive player from Week One, although that’s admittedly not worth much.

The idea is that breaking one or two long flukey runs isn’t as impressive as consistently running 10-15 yards. Not sure I agree yet, but that’s the idea. But it’s an interesting exercise. Take for example AP’s record 296 yard game:

Long runs (10+): 64, 35, 19, 16, 17, 13, 12, 10 That’s 186 of his yards and only two “long” runs.

How about #2 all-time? Jamal Lewis (JAMAL LEWIS?!) with 295

Long runs: 82, 63, 23, 18 This one definitely qualifies. Lewis was pretty mediocre outside of those four runs (186 yards, interestingly enough). He had three or fewer yards on 18 of his 30 carries.

#3? Jerome “SenorBeef’s Daddy” Harrison with 286 yards.

Long runs: 71, 28, 17, 14, 14, 11. (155 yards) That’s it. Harrison, unlike the two above, didn’t lose yardage on a single run all day. He was consistently hitting 4-9 yards with only one real outlier. I can’t tell if that’s more or less impressive.

There you go, out of the top three highest yardage games of all time, two didn’t really feature more than one big run.

In looking all this up, I checked Peterson’s most recent game. His first seven carries went for 4,-2, -2, -2, -1, 6, -3. Seven carries for zero yards! He finished with 212 yards, by the way. He had three or fewer yards on 13 of his 24 carries. Pretty amazing that such a good game was so consistently pedestrian.

Tell that to Russell Wilson.

Yeah, if Peterson doesn’t win the MVP, then we might as well just admit that no RB is even eligible for the award. He’s having a top-5-ever season for a player at his position, for a team that has no other offensive weapons at all and might make the playoffs. I can’t think of a way to argue for anyone else; without AP that team might be 1-14.

The argument against AllDay is that the running back position simply isn’t as closely related to wins and losses as the QB position. In general, teams win because of QB’s, not running backs. The running back position in the current NFL is devalued, while the QB is the most important position. Excelling at the QB position leads to more team wins than excelling at the RB position.

That said, I’ve watched a fair amount of the Vikings and Adrian Peterson does have that kind of effect on his team, mostly because Ponder is on a short leash and required only to not lose the games. I’d have no problem with him getting the MVP, but I also would have a hard time voting for it myself unless the Vikings make the playoffs. Personally, I think the MVP should be from a team that makes the playoffs.

At the halfway point of the season, I might have agreed with you. But the Bears have been skidding of late, and while Peanut may be the best Cover 2 CB to play the game, it’s really hard to compare him to corners who do more covering the WR. For example, a Green Bay rookie CB, who isn’t even a starter, has more passes defensed and three times as many passes intercepted and more passing return yards than Peanut. I think JJ Watt, Von Miller, or Aldon Smith should be the MVP. Hell, Watt as a DE, has 2 more passes defensed than Peanut, a cornerback. That speaks volumes about his impact.

Marshall is a very good receiver, but do you really think he’s better than Calvin Johnson? Megatron has 300 more yards on one less reception than Brandon, who tends to rely on being the only WR on the Bears that Cutler throws to. I think it will come down to who breaks the records. If All Day sets the single season rushing record, he should be it. If Megatron breaks Jerry Rices’ single season record, it should be him. If they both, or neither, do, give the award to me.

It would be odd to admit that, since there were back-to-back RB winners in 2005/2006. If anything, it’s about damn time they gave it to someone other than an RB or QB.

Or they had an awesome Offensive line. LT Dick Schafath made 6 Pro Bowls, LG John Wooten made 2, C John Morrow made 2, RG Gene Hickerson made 6 Pro Bowls and is in the NFL Hall of Fame. Only their RT never made a Pro Bowl.

Note: This isn’t to say that Jim Brown wasn’t one of the best running backs to ever play the game, he certainly was. But those big guys up front deserve some recognition too.

Undoubtedly true… and Mike Shanahan’s experience in Denver helped persuade a LOT of people around the NFL that “Running backs are fairly interchangeable. Get a good offensive line, and a good quarterback, and you can then plug in almost ANY decent running back.”

Teams don’t salivate over top college tailbacks the way they used to. In my youth, teams OFTEN took running backs with the #1 overall draft pick (OJ Simpson, Ricky Bell, Earl Campbell, Billy Sims, George Rogers, Bo Jackson). But you know how long it’s been since a running back was the first overall pick? SEVENTEEN YEARS! Ki-jana Carter (a bust) was the last.

Nowadays, teams with first round draft picks look at top running backs and shrug, “He’s good, but we can probably get somebody almost as good in the second or third round. We should fill other needs first.” Nowadays, a good offensive tackle excites scouts more than a speedy halfback.

So, in MANY cases, we can look at a running back putting up good numbers and say (accurately), “If he got hurt, the scrub would probably come in and put up similar numbers.”

Does Adrian Peterson fall into that category? In my opinion (and, obviously, that’s all it is… an amateur’s opinion), no. I think he’s doing amazing things with minimal help, against defenses that are geared almost exclusively toward stopping him.

But the perception that running backs are a dime a dozen will hurt Peterson in award voting, unless he breaks Dickerson’s record.