NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Adrian Peterson has won The Associated Press 2012 NFL Offensive Player of the Year award just one year after major knee surgery.
The Minnesota Vikings running back rushed for 2,109 yards, 9 short of Eric Dickerson’s record. He dominated voting by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL, getting 36 ballots to eight for runner-up QB Peyton Manning of Denver.
Quarterbacks Tom Brady of New England and Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay, and receiver Calvin Johnson of Detroit each got two votes.
Even more startling is that Peterson’s remarkable year followed major knee surgery at the end of 2011. He led the Vikings’ turnaround from a 3-13 record to 10-6 and a wild-card playoff berth, scoring 12 touchdowns rushing and averaging 6.0 yards per carry.
Houston end J.J. Watt was named The Associated Press 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, missing a perfect ballot by one vote.
The NFL’s sacks leader with 20 1-2 and a pass-blocking fiend, Watt earned 49 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. Denver linebacker Von Miller received the other vote.
Watt, a versatile second-year player with a tremendous burst off the line, also forced four fumbles and recovered two in helping the Texans to their second straight AFC South title. With his long wingspan, he blocked a stunning 16 passes.
Watt is the first Texans player to win the award. Last year, Miller ran away with the top defensive rookie award while Watt was not in contention.
Both Watt and Peterson accepted their awards Saturday night at the “2nd Annual NFL Honors” awards show on CBS saluting the NFL’s best players, performances and plays from the 2012 season.
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