Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings accepts the NFL.com Fantasy Player of the Year award at the 2nd Annual NFL Honors on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in New Orleans.
MVP and Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson
Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson took home the Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year awards after returning from knee surgery to finish with 2,097 yards, a mere 9 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's rushing record. His production helped the Vikings improve from from 3-13 in 2011 to 10-6 and a wild-card playoff berth this season. He is the first running back to win MVP since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.
Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt
Houston Texans end J.J. Watt missed a perfect ballot by one vote. Watt was the NFL's sacks leader with 20.5 and also blocked 16 passes. He forced four fumbles and recovered two in helping the Texans to their second consecutive AFC South title. Watt is the first Texans player to win the award.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Robert Griffin III
Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III beat out fellow quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson to win this award. Griffin, who severely injured his right knee in a wild-card round loss to the Seahawks, set the NFL record for best passer rating by a rookie QB with a 102.4. He completed 258 passes in 393 attempts for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. He also rushed for 815 yards and seven TDs on 120 carries.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Luke Kuechly
Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers was the NFL's leader in tackles with 164. He earned 28 votes, which easily outdistanced Seattle LB Bobby Wagner with 11. Kuechly, a first-round pick from Boston College, began the season on the outside but moved to middle linebacker five games into the season and the Panthers went from 24th in the league in overall defense to 10th.
Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians
Bruce Arians, formerly with the Indianapolis Colts and now with the Arizona Cardinals, became the first interim coach to win NFL Coach of the Year honors. Arians replaced Chuck Pagano in September when the Colts coach was diagnosed with leukemia. He went 9-3 before Pagano returned, and Indianapolis made the playoffs at 11-5.
Comeback Player of the Year: Peyton Manning
Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning, center, won the Comeback Player of the Year award after returning from four neck surgeries to guide 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.
Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year: Jason Witten
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten was chosen for his active involvement with several nonprofit organizations. Witten is a spokesman for NFL PLAY 60 and underwrites the Dallas Cowboys Women’s Association’s Christmas of Giving. He also oversees his own charity, Jason Witten’s SCORE Foundation, which helps victims of domestic violence.