Peterson shines on awards night
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Adrian Peterson had a long road back from a devastating knee injury that ended his 2011 season.
A little more than a year later, the Minnesota Vikings running back was on stage to accept not one, but two prominent awards on the night prior to the Super Bowl.
Peterson was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player and also was honored as the league's top offensive player in voting from the Associated Press.
"It's truly an honor to be recognized as the league's most valuable player," said Peterson. "While the award is considered an individual achievement, I couldn't have had the success that I did without my teammates, my coaches and the Vikings organization. I'm blessed to be a member of the Vikings, and I hope next year we can get the ultimate team award by bringing a Super Bowl championship to Minnesota."
Peterson posted the second-highest rushing total in NFL history this past season. He finished with 2,097 yards, just eight yards shy of Eric Dickerson's NFL record 2,105 yards set in 1984.
In the voting from 50 national media members, Peterson had 30 1/2 tallies. Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, who was honored as the league's Comeback Player of the Year, had the other 19 1/2 votes.
Peterson, who recovered from tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee near the end of the 2011 season, also had 12 rushing touchdowns and a receiving score and helped the Vikings into the playoffs.
Peterson joins QB Fran Tarkenton (1975) and DT Alan Page (1971) as the only Vikings to win the MVP. He's the first running back to win the award since LaDainian Tomlinson (2006).
Defensive end J.J. Watt was honored as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. Watt, who led the NFL with 20 1/2 sacks, is the only player in league history with at least 15 sacks and 15 passes defensed in the same season.
Bruce Arians, who guided the Indianapolis Colts into the playoffs, won the NFL Coach of the Year. Arians, now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, took over the head coaching duties when Chuck Pagano was forced to step aside while battling leukemia.
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly were named the offensive and defensive Rookies of the Year, respectively, for this past season.
Manning completed 400-of-583 passes for 4,659 yards with 37 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions in his first season in a Broncos uniform. He sat out the 2011 season with neck problems, which forced Manning to undergo four surgical procedures.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten was honored as the 2012 NFL Man of the Year for his off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.
02/02 23:06:53 ET