The NFL Most Valuable Player award seems to be a two-man race heading into Week 17, with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning the contenders. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has already gone on the record as saying there’s no doubt that Peterson is the MVP, and it’s not surprising that Fox has now come out to vocally support Manning.
Fox said at his press conference today that he believes Manning deserves the honor because Manning has had to adjust to a new team and new teammates and has made that adjustment flawlessly in his first season in Denver.
“Obviously I might be a little biased and with all due respect to everybody involved, I think what’s unique about Peyton . . . he’s done it in a new city with a new team,” Fox said. “At that position, in my personal opinion, that’s what separates him from the rest of the field.”
Peterson and Manning each have one more game to attempt to impress the panel of 50 voters the Associated Press assembles to vote on the MVP award, but they appear to be neck and neck through 15 games of the season. Peterson, who has gained 1,898 yards this season, has a huge opportunity to bolster his case by surpassing the the 2,000-yard mark on Sunday, and maybe even breaking Eric Dickerson’s all-time record of 2,105 yards, while potentially leading the Vikings to the playoffs with a win over the Packers. Manning doesn’t have any high-profile statistical benchmarks to meet on Sunday, but he does have the opportunity to lead the Broncos to home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, if they win on Sunday while the Texans lose.
My bet is that if Peterson tops 2,000 yards and the Vikings beat the Packers, Peterson gets the nod. If Peterson falls short and the Vikings lose, that will open the door to Manning winning the MVP for the record fifth time.