NEW ORLEANS - Adrian Peterson called it a blessing in disguise.
Strange way to describe career-threatening major knee surgery.
The Minnesota Vikings' star came back better than ever, just missing Eric Dickerson's longstanding rushing record and closing out the season with two of the top NFL awards from The Associated Press: Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year.
As sort of an added bonus, he beat Peyton Manning for both of them Saturday night.
"My career could have easily been over, just like that," the sensational running back said. "Oh man. The things I've been through throughout my lifetime has made me mentally tough.
"I'm kind of speechless. This is amazing, " he said in accepting his awards, along with five others at the "2nd Annual NFL Honors" show on CBS saluting the NFL's best players, performances and plays from 2012. The awards are based on balloting from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL.
Manning's own sensational recovery, from four neck surgeries, earned him Comeback Player honors.
"This injury was unlike any other," said the only four-time league MVP. "There really was no bar or standard, there were no notes to copy. We were coming up with a rehab plan as we went."
Also honored were:
• Washington's Robert Griffin III, who beat out a strong crop of quarterbacks for the top offensive rookie award.
• Houston end J.J. Watt, who took Defensive Player of the Year, getting 49 of 50 votes.
• Bruce Arians, the first interim coach to win Coach of the Year after leading Indianapolis to a 9-3 record while head man Chuck Pagano was being treated for leukemia. Arians became Arizona's head coach last month.
• Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly, the league's leader in tackles with 164, who won the top defensive rookie award.
7 elected to Hall of Fame
NEW ORLEANS - Bill Parcells was a winner everywhere he coached. Time and time again, he took over struggling franchises and showed them what it takes to be a success, including a pair of Super Bowl titles with the New York Giants.
Parcells pulled off another victory Saturday - election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Getting in on his fourth try, Parcells led an induction class that also included mouthy defensive lineman Warren Sapp, prolific receiver Cris Carter and a pair of stalwarts from the trenches, offensive linemen Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen.
The class of 2013 also included a pair of senior selections, Curley Culp and Dave Robinson.
Culliver to start training
NEW ORLEANS - San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver will begin sensitivity training and education immediately after the Super Bowl following his anti-gay remarks this week, then likely start volunteer work with at-risk homosexual youth nationwide.
Culliver is scheduled to begin working with "The Trevor Project," an organization that provides crisis and suicide intervention to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, according to his public relations representative, Theodore Palmer.