A little more than a year after suffering what could have been a career-ending knee injury, Palestine native and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson cleaned up at the NFL Honors show Saturday in New Orleans.
The former Wildcat star, who suffered a major knee injury just before Christmas 2012, was named both the NFL Most Valuable Player and the Offensive Player of the Year. The awards are given by the Associated Press.
Accepting his award, Peterson said he was “speechless.”
“I played my heart out, every opportunity I had," Peterson said, according to ESPN.com. “The result of that is not what I wanted, which is being in the Super Bowl game. But I have a couple of good pieces of hardware to bring back and (put) in my statue area. So it feels good.”
Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards in 2012, falling just nine yards short of the single-season rushing record set by Eric Dickerson. He averaged six yards per carry and scored 12 touchdowns.
Peterson received 30 1/2 of the 50 first-place votes for MVP. The other 19 1/2 votes went to Peyton Manning, who finished second to Peterson both in the MVP and OPOY races.
It’s the first MVP award for Peterson, who graduated from Palestine High School in 2004 after rushing for more than 2,000 yards in both his junior and senior seasons.
He went on to set to the NCAA freshman rushing record in 2004 at the University of Oklahoma, rushing for 1,925 yards.
The Houston Texans J.J. Watt was named the AP’s Defensive Player of the Year. Watt led the NFL with 20 1/2 sacks in 2012, earning 49 of the 50 first-place vote. Former Texas A&M star and current Denver Bronco Von Miller earned the other.
Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III ran away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, receiving 29 of the 50 votes. Andrew Luck finished second with 11 and Russell Wilson had 10.
Griffin, a Heisman Trophy winner at Baylor, led Washington to the NFC East title.