Top Three Candidates for NFL Comeback Player of the Year

When it comes to predicting NFL Honors, it can be an extremely difficult proposition since there is usually a large field of players that deserve legitimate consideration. This year is no outlier, but in the class of comeback players, there are a few that stand out from the crowd:

1. Adrian Peterson

Thinking about players that are justifiably in the conversation for Comeback Player of the Year, AP is the clear-cut favorite. Peterson was only able to participate in one game of the 2014-15 season due to a child abuse case. After paying a $4,000 fine and completing 80 hours of community service, the Vikings' halfback was reinstated by the NFL.

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Attempting only 21 carries this past regular season, Peterson is fresh from a year of rest, giving him the prime opportunity to return to his dominant form with a rejuvenated body.  In the season before his suspension, Peterson rushed for 1,266 yards and 10 TD's. He is also just 3 years removed from a 2,000 yard rushing season, earning NFL AP MVP along the way.

Although the obvious question remains of how long it will take AP to adjust from an entire season away from the game, he remains one of the best athletes in the league. He still knows how to find holes and speed past defenders, it may just take a short amount of time for him to truly adjust to NFL contact again and gain chemistry with his progressing second year quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater. Peterson stands out above the rest in this category, but is by no means a guarantee to win the award.

2. Sam Bradford

Undoubtedly the largest question mark on the list, the Eagles' signal caller has a chance to prove why he was the first overall pick in his draft class. Before tearing his ACL in consecutive years, Bradford performed well for the St. Louis Rams. After getting accustomed to the league and his team during his first 2 professional seasons, he had his best year during the 2012-13 campaign, throwing for 3,702 yards with a 21:13 TD to Int ratio.

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Having been unable to stay on the field consistently for two years is a huge concern, but that history, coupled with his proven talent, raises his appeal to win the award. He is also in an ideal system, with Chip Kelly's offense being notoriously quarterback friendly. Accompanied by an elite trio of backfield weapons along with talented young receivers, Bradford has an opportunity to show his true ability to lead an offense and win games in the NFL.

3. NaVorro Bowman

Although it will be extremely difficult for a defensive player to take home this honor in 2015, Bowman has a solid shot because of his leadership and production for a now depleted 49ers defense. Starting all 16 games for San Francisco since his sophomore year, it was presumably extremely challenging for the linebacker to sit out an entire season, even more of a task for the unit to perform without him as he tore his ACL in the 2013 NFC Championship Game.

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He had his highest single-season tackle total of his career in the 2013-14 season, racking up 120 tackles, in addition to 5 sacks. As part of one of the great linebacker tandems in the NFL with Patrick Willis, he gained a massive amount of experience and is now primed to carry the load. The 49ers need Bowman to step up in a big way after losing players like Willis and Aldon Smith and he could win this award if he recovers well and leads the defense to unexpected success.

Leading up to the NFL season, there are many story lines to watch, such as the MVP race, but Comeback Player of the Year is an extremely intriguing topic of discussion. Big question marks for teams as the players hope to bounce back from a frustrating year. While gearing up for the start of the season and fantasy football, make sure to keep these players in mind.

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