Peterson, who returned from a serious knee injury at the end of the 2011 season to finish with 2,019 rushing yards, received 30 1/2 votes, beating Manning, who received the other 19 1/2 votes. The first running back since LaDanian Tomlinson to win the award, Peterson led the Vikings from a 3-13 mark to 10-6 and a wild-card playoff berth.
Manning didn’t go home empty handed: he took home the Comeback Player of the Year Award. In addition, Indy’s Bruce Arians was named Coach of the Year, while Houston’s J.J. Watt won was named Defensive Player of the Year and Peterson was named Offensive Player of the Year. Meanwhile, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and former BC star Luke Kuechly was named Defensive Rookie of the Year .