Here are my picks for midseason most valuable player for each team in the division:
How good of a season is Forte having? His 1,241 total yards from scrimmage (rushing plus receiving) leads the NFL and puts him on pace to approach the league's all-time record. (Chris Johnson combined for 2,503 total yards in 16 games for the Tennessee Titans in 2009.) Forte has accounted for more than 45 percent of the Bears' total offense, has taken 77 percent of their carries and has caught nearly twice as many passes (41) as any of his teammates. The Bears have built their offense around him, and no one -- not even quarterback Jay Cutler -- has played a bigger role in their 5-3 record.
Johnson spent the first half of the season on a record-breaking scoring pace. His 11 touchdown receptions lead the NFL and project him to finish one short of Randy Moss' record for touchdowns in a season. Johnson has also caught the NFL's second-highest number of passes of 40 or more yards (five) and is one of three players averaging more than 100 yards receiving per game. Most important, his acrobatic scores have come in crucial situations. They made the difference in at least two victories, over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3 and the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4. Without those plays, the Lions would be a .500 team.
The runaway league MVP at the midpoint, Rodgers has put together one of the best first halves in NFL history. He's the first player to combine at least 2,600 passing yards with 24 touchdowns in the first eight games of the season, and is the only quarterback ever to finish eight consecutive games with a passer rating of 110 or greater. Along the way, Rodgers has led the league in completion percentage (72.5), passer rating (129.1) and yards per attempt (9.9) and has thrown only three interceptions. All for an 8-0 team. That should about do it, right?
Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson
Peterson ranks second in the NFL with 798 rushing yards and has scored 10 of the Vikings' 19 touchdowns. Five of those touchdowns have come in the only two games the Vikings have won this season. Peterson has been as much of a single force for the Vikings as Forte has been for the Bears. Defensive end Jared Allen, who has a league-leading 12.5 sacks, is a close runner-up.