By Larry Fine
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who overcame a career-threatening injury to lead his team into the playoffs, was named the National Football League's Most Valuable Player on Saturday.
Peterson, whose 2011 season ended with a torn knee ligament, came within nine yards of setting a single season NFL rushing record and was named the Offensive Player of the Year at the NFL's awards show.
The 27-year-old Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards falling just short of the record set by Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams in 1984, and his brilliant effort helped the Vikings register a 10-6 record to earn a trip to the postseason.
A five-time Pro Bowl player, Peterson came back stronger than ever with his combination of speed, power and elusiveness that has made him the most dangerous running back in the league.
While pleased to have won recognition for his performance, Peterson told reporters he was disappointed to have fallen short of his ultimate goal this season.
"I was definitely hoping to get to the Super Bowl. That was my goal," he said. "Come back, lead my team and help my team get to the Super Bowl.
"Unfortunately, that didn't happen. But I played my heart out every opportunity I had ... (and) I got a couple of good pieces of hardware to bring back and stack in my statue area. So it feels good."
The MVP award capped off a night of NFL awards selected by a panel of NFL reporters in a poll conducted by the Associated Press.
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)