Stiff competition doesn’t happen too often at the Pro Bowl. But this year, with the two main contenders for the MVP award suiting up for opposite sides, the game had a little extra intrigue.
Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning both had solid seasons coming back from injuries that appeared likely to limit — if not end — their careers. They’re now the front-runners for the league MVP award, to be announced this week.
The voting is done, but that hasn’t kept Peterson from campaigning. He thinks his 2,097 rushing yards (second most in NFL history), 6.0 yards per rush, 12 touchdowns and contribution in getting the Vikings to the playoffs is enough to give him the edge over Manning’s 4,659 passing yards, 68.6 completion percentage, 37 touchdowns and No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs with the Broncos.
"I’m going to win it. I will get it," Peterson told Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post on Saturday.
But Peterson’s boastings weren’t lost on the other guy in the race.
"Everybody should play like Adrian Peterson," Manning reportedly said during a Pro Bowl event earlier in the week. "The guy does everything full speed. The Pro Bowl. Promoting himself for MVP."
Peterson, who was in attendance at the event, said he enjoyed the joke. As for the Pro Bowl (Manning at that same event earlier in the week made a plea to his fellow NFL players to take the game seriously and raise the level of play), if the final score is any indication, Peterson had the last laugh as the NFC pounded the AFC on Sunday, 62-35. But it was another Viking, tight end Kyle Rudolph, who did the most damage with 122 yards and a TD for MVP honors. For Manning (6 of 12, 43 yards, 1 TD) and Peterson (five carries, 13 yards, no scores), it was a pretty quiet end to their seasons.