Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson joins four quarterbacks as the finalists, announced Wednesday, for the Associated Press 2022 NFL Most Valuable Player award.
Three of the QBs are battling for Super Bowl LVII berths on Sunday, with Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles and Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals joining 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills is also a finalist.
Jefferson led the NFL with 128 catches and 1,809 receiving yards in his third season. The unanimous first-team All-Pro is trying to become the first wideout ever to win AP MVP honors, presented annually since 1957.
Quarterbacks have swept the last nine MVP awards and 14 of the last 15, with Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers taking home his third and fourth MVP trophies in 2020 and 2021.
Jefferson, Hurts and Mahomes are also finalists for Offensive Player of the Year.
The Defensive Player of the Year finalists are the San Francisco 49ers’ Nick Bosa, the Chiefs’ Chris Jones and Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys.
Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants, Christian McCaffrey of the 49ers and Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks are up for Comeback Player of the Year.
The Giants’ Brian Daboll, the 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan and Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars are the finalists for Coach of the Year.
The Offensive Rookie of the Year finalists are Brock Purdy of the 49ers, Kenneth Walker of the Seahawks and Garrett Wilson of the New York Jets.
Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner of the Jets, Aidan Hutchinson of the Detroit Lions and Seattle’s Tariq Woolen are the Defensive Rookie of the Year finalists.
Up for Assistant Coach of the Year are Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Lions OC Ben Johnson.
The winners will be announced at the NFL Honors event on Feb. 9.
A nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league completed the voting before the start of the playoffs.
This was the first year for the AP’s new voting system. Voters chose a top five for MVP and a top three for all other awards. For MVP, first-place were worth 10 points. Second through fifth-place votes were worth five, three, two and one points.
For all the other awards, first-place votes equaled five points, second were three points and third were one point.