Mike Sando's MVP Watch

Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, left, and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch are the first two running backs to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark this season. US Presswire

Running backs Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch have become regulars on the MVP Watch list not only for the yards they gain, but also for how they gain them.

Ranking 1-2 in rushing yardage sets them apart. The fact that they also lead the NFL in yards after contact is telling, too.

Two weeks ago, Peterson gained 111 of his 182 yards against Seattle after defenders made contact. More recently, Lynch gained 52 of his 124 yards after the New York Jets made contact with him. And by making contact, we're not talking about brushing up against one another. Defenders have to affect runners for the yardage to count.

"Contact for our purposes must slow the ball carrier down, or it must be a play in which the defender had a legitimate chance at tackling the ball carrier but is unable to due to a juke move or stiff arm," ESPN's game-tracking guide reads.

Peterson averages 2.8 yards per rush after contact, easily the most in the NFL among players with at least 100 rushes through Week 10. Lynch is at 1.9, same as Frank Gore and just ahead of Steven Jackson (1.8).

Side note: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees came close to appearing on the list this week. He has the numbers and could be a week away if the Saints can get to .500 or better for the season.