NFL Nation: MVP announcement

Peterson speaks

January, 2, 2009
1/02/09
3:00
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
1:10
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.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Peyton Manning certainly would have received my MVP vote based on his efforts during the recently concluded season.

Warner

We had Kurt Warner leading in a poll of ESPN.com's divisional bloggers, but that was several weeks ago. Manning and the Colts had yet to clinch a playoff berth, while Warner and the Cardinals were only beginning their slide after clinching the team's first division title since 1975.

The subject generated quite a bit of discussion here (as well as here and here). Warner still enjoyed an outstanding season. He finished among the NFL's top five in pass attempts, pass completions, completion percentage, passing yards, passing touchdowns, passer rating and completions of 25 yards or longer.

Thanks largely to Warner, the Cardinals finished with three 1,000-yard receivers. Warner also set single-season franchise records for passer rating, touchdown passes and completion percentage. He set a franchise record with at least one touchdown pass in 22 consecutive games. Warner also owns the three highest single-season completion percentages in franchise history.

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