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Adrian Peterson is unanimous pick for NFC North MVP

MINNEAPOLIS -- He became the first 30-something back to lead the NFL in rushing in 11 years. He accounted for about one-third of the Minnesota Vikings' total yards while helping them win their first NFC North title since 2009. And after his return to the Vikings helped them get back to the playoffs, Adrian Peterson has been voted the division MVP by ESPN's team of NFC North writers.

Peterson received all four first-place votes, sweeping the vote to beat out last year's winner, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who finished four points behind Peterson. Rodgers collected all four second-place votes, while four players -- Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, Lions receiver Calvin Johnson and Vikings nose tackle Linval Joseph -- each got one third-place vote.

At age 30 and coming off a 15-game absence in 2014 following his indictment on child injury charges, Peterson ran for a league-high 1,485 yards on 327 carries (also the most in the league). He tied for the league lead with 11 rushing touchdowns, and had the fourth-longest run in the NFL on Nov. 15, when he reeled off an 80-yard touchdown to break open the Vikings' win over the Oakland Raiders.

Coach Mike Zimmer admitted he thought Peterson would play a larger role in the passing game in 2015, and Peterson's fumbling problems reared their head at the worst possible time. After fumbling a league-high eight times during the regular season, Peterson was stripped by Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor in the fourth quarter of the Vikings' 10-9 wild-card loss to Seattle, putting the Seahawks in position to kick the decisive field goal. But the Vikings probably wouldn't have been in the playoffs without Peterson driving their offense for so much of the season as they climbed past the Packers in the NFC North.

Full voting (first-place votes in parentheses):

Adrian Peterson 12 (4)

Aaron Rodgers 8

Teddy Bridgewater 1

Ezekiel Ansah 1

Calvin Johnson 1

Linval Joseph 1