Former University of Oklahoma All-America running back Adrian Peterson received the Associated Press National Football League's Most Valuable Player Award Saturday in New Orleans. The Minnesota Vikings' five-time Pro Bowl performer is the first OU player to win the award. Peterson was also named the AP Offensive Player of the Year.
Peterson accumulated 2,097 rushing yards in 2012, coming nine yards shy of surpassing the NFL's single-season record established by Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams (2,105 yards in 1984). Making Peterson's record-setting season even more remarkable was the fact that he suffered a severe knee injury on Dec. 24, 2011. Since Peterson entered the NFL in 2007, no player has accumulated more rushing yards (8,849), total TDs (80), rushing TDs (76), rushing yards per game (99.4), rushes for 10+ yards (247) or yards from scrimmage (10,375).
"Nothing that Adrian accomplishes surprises me," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "Adrian is remarkable person and a relentless competitor. He possesses rare physical qualities as an athlete, but his unbridled passion for being the very best and his tireless determination are what make him truly unique. All of us at the University of Oklahoma proudly congratulate Adrian on this honor and thank him for his continued support of OU Athletics."
Peterson accumulated 4,045 career rushing yards during his three seasons at OU and was a three-time All-Big 12 selection. He earned All-America honors as a freshman when he ran for a school-record 1,925 yards and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting. He set NCAA freshman records for rushing yards, 100-yard rushing games (11), consecutive 100-yard rushing games (nine) and rushing attempts (339).
Peterson was the seventh overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and went on to be named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Peterson, who that year set the NFL record for single-game rushing yards (296), became only the fifth player in NFL history to run for more than 3,000 yards through his first two seasons.
Currently, Peterson boasts the third-highest per-carry average in NFL history (minimum 750 attempts) at 5.0 yards per attempt, trailing only Jim Brown (5.2) and Mercury Morris (5.1).