NFC North: MVP 08

Peterson speaks

January, 2, 2009
1/02/09
2:50
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- A few reporters caught up with Minnesota tailback Adrian Peterson on Friday afternoon, a few hours after he finished fourth in the balloting for the NFL's MVP award. Here's the applicable Q&A:

Peterson

Were you surprised you only got three votes?

Adrian Peterson: Surprised? No. I don't know. I know [Indianapolis quarterback Peyton] Manning is definitely worthy of that award. He's an outstanding player and I take my hat off to him.

Is the MVP something you had your eyes set on?

AP: Yeah. When I come into the season, I always set goals for myself and hopefully it'll come along the journey through the season. If not, then hey, just continue to focus on what's in front of us. God willing, I'll have the opportunity to try to get that again.

What more can you do? Can you have a better season that what you did this year?

AP: I don't know. Evidently, I've got to. I just got to sharpen my game up, and most importantly to be able to help my team. Just sharpen my game. I know it's a lot that I have to work on. If it's God's will, I'll have another opportunity to get it.

Will you use this for motivation?

AP: No. If you're not motivated going into this weekend? If it takes something like not winning the MVP to motivate you, then you're in the wrong sport.

Peterson fourth? Really?

January, 2, 2009
1/02/09
1:05
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Minnesota tailback Adrian Peterson won the NFL rushing title and played on a division-winning team. Nevertheless, I couldn't possibly make an argument for Peterson winning the league MVP award over Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning.

 
 Leon Halip/US Presswire
 Adrian Peterson led the NFL in rushing with 1,760 yards.

Manning plays the more important position of the two, and he was the Colts player most responsible for the team ending the season on a nine-game winning streak.

But Peterson didn't finish second, either. He tied for fourth in the MVP voting. Were there really three players who deserved the award more than he did?

I'm sure some voters looked at the Vikings' season and wondered whether backup quarterback Gus Frerotte had a bigger impact on the team's division title than Peterson. (Frerotte started eight of the Vikings' 10 victories). It's clear that at least a few voters thought Atlanta tailback Michael Turner (four votes) and Miami quarterback Chad Pennington (four) played a bigger role in their teams' success than Peterson.

You can make that argument in choosing Manning over Peterson. Otherwise, it seems Peterson's consistent performance had a mind-numbing effect on voters. Peterson, after all, led the league with 10 100-yard games. He also had 20 runs of at least 20 yards, five more than the next-best performer. Is that type of production simply assumed for him?

Again, I can't advocate Peterson as the MVP. But it's a little surprising to see him finish behind three other players and tied with a fourth (Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison) in the voting.

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