Vikings running back Adrian Peterson isn’t shy about his ambitions this season: He’s openly talking about breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, and he’s expressing his intention to be the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.
Peterson told the Star-Tribune that he is optimistic about his chances of winning the MVP, although he acknowledged that in a passing league, it’s hard for a running back to top a quarterback.
“The MVP, man, that’s something that I’ve always wanted to grab. I work hard. I want to be the best player to play this game, so with that, MVP awards come,” Peterson said. “But I know this league and how it is, man. They’re kind of biased to the quarterback, which is unfortunate. They make it hard for other players to win it, but I will.”
Peterson is right that it’s hard for a running back to win the MVP award, even if he reaches 2,000 yards, as Peterson has a chance of doing. In fact, in two of Peyton Manning’s MVP seasons, he beat out a 2,000-yard running back: Jamal Lewis in 2003 and Chris Johnson in 2009. And Dickerson didn’t win the MVP when he ran for 2,105 yards in 1984; Dan Marino won the award for breaking the NFL’s single-season passing mark the same year.
With both Manning and Tom Brady having strong seasons this year, Peterson would seem to be a long shot to win the award this year. But if Peterson were to break Dickerson’s record while leading the Vikings to the playoffs, that might be enough to make Peterson the first running back to win MVP since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.