EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Adrian Peterson was recognized as the NFL's MVP last season, an award voted on by the media. Peterson earned the respect of players around the league though after rushing for 2,097 yards, the second-highest single-season total in league history.
The players showed their respect by voting Peterson the league's best player in the annual top 100 ranking done by the NFL Network. The network polled players around the league, and Peterson's honor was revealed by the network Thursday evening.
"I've had three ACLs in my life," Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels said on the broadcast. "To come back the way he did, literally like nothing happened, better than he was the year before, I don't understand it. It's got to be genetics man."
Peterson won the MVP award and was also the league's offensive player of the year award winner following his return less than a year from major knee surgery. Peterson ran for 2,097 yards — only eight yards shy of Eric Dickerson's single-season record — and had 40 catches for 217 yards. He scored 13 touchdowns.
Peterson did it all after returning to the field just more than eight months from surgery to repair two torn knee ligaments, shocking the NFL in the process.
"To be voted No. 1 by my peers, it really means a lot, especially coming off the major injury that I had and all the support I got through that process," Peterson said on the reaction show afterward. "I've got to give thanks to my offensive line too, because without those guys I wouldn't be sitting here today. There's a lot of guys that go unshown that really helped me to get to this point today. I've got to congratulate those guys as well."
Peterson's started the season's first game and got stronger as the year progressed. His historic second-half run put him on the edge of breaking Dickerson's record when he had eight straight 100-yard rushing games, including two games of more than 200 yards. He went over 100 yards rushing in nine of his final 10 games, only missing a late-season game against Houston when he was pulled early from a 23-6 win against the Texans with 86 yards rushing.