The non-Peyton MVP candidates

If things break a certain way, these three players could beat out Manning

Updated: October 10, 2013, 12:22 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

DeMarcus Ware AP Photo/Tony GutierrezPeyton Manning is off to a great start, but don't hand him the MVP trophy just yet.

If the 2013 NFL season were to end today, there would be no doubt as to who the MVP would be. Peyton Manning's otherworldly performance level is putting him on track to rewrite every major single-season passing record on his way to becoming only the second unanimous MVP in the history of the league.

Before granting him that award, however, it should be noted that the 2012 MVP, Adrian Peterson, had something of a tale of two seasons. In his first eight games, Peterson racked up 775 yards, an impressive total but one that would have prorated out to just 1,550 yards over a 16-game campaign. Had he kept up that same pace, Peterson would have ended up finishing second in the league in rushing yards (behind Alfred Morris' 1,613) and almost certainly would not have garnered an MVP award.

Given that Manning is likely to see some sort of drop-off this season -- ESPN Stats & Information's Dean Oliver has a very interesting take on this -- there is a possibility that some of the current runner-up MVP candidates can close the gap and turn this into more than a one-horse race.

Here are three players with the best chance of doing so.