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Peterson returned better than ever from the left knee surgery, rushing for 2,097 yards, 9 short of breaking Dickerson’s record. He also sparked the Vikings‘ turnaround from 3-13 to 10-6 and a wild-card playoff berth.
He received 30 1-2 votes to 19 1-2 for Manning.
“I played my heart out, every opportunity I had,” Peterson said. “The result of that is not what I wanted, which is being in the Super Bowl game. But I have a couple of good pieces of hardware to bring back and (put) in my statue area. So it feels good.”
Was the knee injury the toughest thing he’d ever overcome?
“Losing my brother at 7, seeing him get hit by a car right in front of me, that was the toughest,” he said. “But as far as injuries, yes.”
New England QB Tom Brady was the last winner of MVP and Offensive Player in 2010.
“Trying to get two or three like Peyton, trying to get to your level,” Peterson said of his first MVP award. “But I won’t be there to accept it because I’ll be winning with my coach, the most important award, the team award, the Super Bowl.”
“I hope he does have a chance to do it again,” Dickerson said, adding with a laugh, “but do I want him to break it? No, I do not.”
Wearing a burgundy and gold tie in honor of his Redskins, Griffin said his goal is to be ready for the season opener.
“It’s truly a blessing to be up there _ to be able to stand, first and foremost,” said Griffin, who underwent knee surgery last month. He added that next season “you’ll see a better Robert Griffin.”
Arians moved up from offensive coordinator and helped Indianapolis make the playoffs at 10-6, making him an easy winner in the balloting.
“It’s hard to put into words the feelings of this past year,” he said. “This was kind of the cherry on the top, whipped cream and everything else you put on top.”
Watt swatted the competition as Denver’s Von Miller got the only other vote in the most lopsided balloting of all the awards.
“It sets the bar for me,” Watt said. He led the NFL with 20 1-2 sacks and also blocked an astounding 16 passes. “I want to go out and do even better. I want to do even bigger things.”
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