Adrian Peterson returned less than nine months after knee surgery and finished the season 13 yards shy of a record. / Brace Hemmelgarn, USA TODAY Sports
NEW ORLEANS - Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson says he plans on winning the NFL's MVP award again next year, but doesn't plan on being at the third annual NFL Honors ceremony to accept it.
"Hopefully next year I'll win this award again because I'll be winning the most important award, the team award, the Super Bowl," he said.
One year after major knee surgery, Adrian Peterson won the league's highest individual honor along with its Offensive Player of the Year award, beating out Peyton Manning, the only other vote getter.
Both Manning, the Denver Broncos quarterback, and Peterson fought back from offseason surgeries to lead their teams to the playoffs. Both were strong candidates for the league's Comeback Player of the Year Award, which Manning won.
Peterson, 27, rushed for 2,109 yards, 9 short of Eric Dickerson's single season record. 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.
"I was hoping to come back and lead my team to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately that didn't happen," Peterson told reporters. "I played my heart out every opportunity that I had, and the result of that was not what I wanted, but I got a couple good pieces of hardware to bring back."
Manning, 36, spent a year away from football following multiple neck procedures. The four-time league MVP guided the Broncos to the AFC's best record, 13-3, in his first season in Denver. Before sitting out 2011, Manning had never missed a start in his first 13 seasons with Indianapolis.
Peterson beat Manning 30.5 to 19.5 in the MVP voting, and Manning came out a 31.5 to 17.5 winner for the comeback award.
All honors were voted on by a 50-person panel of journalists assembled by the Associated Press.
Both Peterson and Manning agreed their respective comebacks were as challenging mentally as they were physically.
"I'm sure Adrian could share the same type of story," Manning said. "It's a true test of patience. Some days your best days are just days where you don't have a setback.
"I truly feel fortunate to still be playing. I can't tell you how thankful I am for so many people."
Contributing: Associated Press
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