ADRIAN PETERSON: Most Valuable Player -- In 2011, the Minnesota Vikings finished with a franchise tying worst 3-13 record. As the 2012 season started, many assumed they were destined for the same fate. "Worst Team in the League" status was attached to them in many preseason predictions. They were led by a very unproven second-year quarterback, had one reliable wide receiver, and a defense that ranked 26th in the league the year before. Amazingly, they finished 10-6 - a seven game swing - and landed in the playoffs. With that type of transformation the quarterback must of led the way, right? Not exactly. Minnesota ranked 31st in the league with only 172 passing yards a game. So the receivers must have really stepped it up? Nope. Percy Harvin, the one reliable receiver, was out for the season after Week 9. Well then it must of been the defense? Not at all. They went from 26th to 24th in yards against. The only reason the Vikings made the playoffs...the only reason anyone outside the Twin Cities watched their games...and the only reason they're not debating whether to give up on Christian Ponder and draft Matt Barkley...is Adrian Peterson. Forget the fact that he tore his ACL eight months before the season started and still finished 9 yards short of the all-time rushing record. That's just icing on the cake. He is, without question, the most VALUABLE player in the league because of what he makes the Vikings capable of. Yes, Peyton Manning led the Broncos to the #1 seed, but Denver had many pieces in place and won more playoff games last year with Tim Tebow. And yes, Tom Brady is probably the best quarterback who ever lived and the Patriots once again rolled to the postseason, but he has skilled players all around him and the best coach of the millenium. Peterson has none of this, as illustrated already. M.V.P.
BEST RUN THAT DIDN'T END IN A TOUCHDOWN AWARD: C.J. Spiller -- The run happens 47 seconds into this clip, but it's well worth watching the whole thing. Spiller has serious moves.
CHAMP BAILEY: Player who everyone thought was elite until he was exposed in the postseason award.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: J.J. Watt -- Enough said.
ERIC DECKER: Hottest guy in the league award.
FASTEST GROUP OF WIDE RECEIVERS AWARD: Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford -- Oakland Raiders (apparently speedy receivers don't necessarily translate into wins).
GENO ATKINS: Most underrated defensive lineman award.
HENRY MELTON: 2nd most underrated defensive lineman award.
ISSAC SOPOAGA: Best player in the NFL who's name starts with an "I" award.
JOHN TAYLOR AWARD: Donnie Avery -- This goes to the wide receiver who seems to always make big plays, convert first downs and score timely touchdowns, yet is completely overshadowed by the Hall of Fame receiver he plays with. Reggie Wayne (and rookie T.Y. Hilton) get most of the press, but Avery had a solid 60 catches for 780 yards. He had as many catches on 3rd down for 1st down conversions as Dez Bryant, Julio Jones and James Jones.
KICK/PUNT RETURNER OF THE YEAR: Leodis McKelvin -- Before he missed the last few games of the season, Buffalo's McKelvin was on pace to break return-yard records that had stood for half a century.
LOGAN MANKINS: Player who got into Pro Bowl based on reputation award -- Mankins only played in 10 regular season games this year (and by the way New England lost 4 of them). Plus, when the Pro Bowl rosters were announced he had only played in 9. I'm not saying he isn't great, but he missed a third of the season. The Pro Bowl is lame.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: A.J. Green -- Last year Green was a deep threat rookie wide-out with 67 catches and promising upside. This year he was one of the best receivers in the league with 97 catches, 1350 yards and 11 TD's.
NICE GUY AWARD: Larry Fitzgerald -- Is there a player in the NFL that deals with more shit than Larry Fitzgerald? The guy is quite possibly the most poorly utilized player in the league, is stuck with Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley as his quarterbacks, and never says a word. I literally don't think I've ever heard him talk. In the Cardinals 16 games this year, Fitzgerald only led the team in receiving yards 6 times! To put that in perspective, Brandon Marshall led the Bears 12 times and Megatron led the Lions 13 times. Poor, Larry. Such a nice guy.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Adrian Peterson -- A rundown of his 2012 stats: 2,097 rushing yards; 6.0 yards per carry; 12 rushing TD's (1 receiving TD); 6 rushes of 50 or more yards; 172 rushing yards per game in December.
PLAYER WITH THE COOLEST NICKNAME WHO ALSO HAPPENS TO BE THE COOLEST PLAYER AWARD: RGIII
QUITTER OF THE YEAR: The Philadelphia Eagles roster.
RUSSELL WILSON AWARD FOR MY FAVORITE PLAYER: Russell Wilson
SIGNAL CALLER AWARD: Aaron Rodgers -- There were many quarterbacks with great numbers this year, but a few of Rodgers' numbers stand out. He had 39 touchdowns (most in the league) to just 8 interceptions (2nd fewest in the league). This was the best ratio of any full-time starting quarterback. He had a 108.0 passer rating, also the best of any starting QB. Finally, he was sacked 51 times - again, most of anyone. A guy under that much pressure is not supposed to lead the league in TD's, not to mention only throw 8 picks. Message to the Packers front office...draft a couple linemen in April.
TONY GONZALEZ: This generation's Best Player to Never Win a Super Bowl award.
UNSUNG HERO AWARD: Bobby Wagner -- On a team full of flash - from the quarterback, to the running back, to the coach, to the uniforms - Bobby Wagner flies under the radar. In his first year, he had 140 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 interceptions and led the Seahawks to the 4th ranked defense in the league.
VON MILLER: Player who most resembles the late, great, Derrick Thomas.
WORST PLAY OF THE YEAR AWARD: Was there another choice? #buttfumble
X'S & O'S AWARD: Bruce Arians -- Coach of the Year might be the easiest call on the list. Not only did Arians take a 2-14 team to the playoffs while installing a new offense and new quarterback, but he was an eloquent, modest leader in the midst of Chuck Pagano's illness.
YOLO AWARD FOR MOST OVERUSED PHARSE: "It's a quarterback driven league."
ZACK MORRIS AWARD: London Fletcher -- To the guy who everyone follows.