Tony Gonzalez and Calvin Johnson rounded out the top three, respectively, in the player poll. (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
The NFL players have spoken, and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is the player they most want to see make a Super Bowl appearance before his career is finished, according to a poll of more than 320 players conducted by ESPN.
ESPN reports that Tony Gonzalez came in second, followed by Calvin Johnson, Russell Wilson -- who is making his first appearance as the Seattle Seahawks play the Denver Broncos -- Andre Johnson and Michael Vick. Peterson received 18.4 percent of the vote, nearly a percentage point ahead of the 17.5 percent received by Gonzalez.
In a report Wednesday from Ben Goessling of ESPN, Peterson spoke to the respect he felt after hearing the news:
"That's pretty cool. It feels good. I guess guys are able to see the passion that I play with, the desire I play with, and they respect it enough to make that type of statement. It says a lot, and it means a lot."
A six-time Pro Bowler, the 28-year-old Peterson took home NFL MVP in 2012 after returning from an ACL and MCL tear the previous season. He was the third-fastest in league history to reach the 10,000-yard plateau.
The Vikings finished this past season with a 5-10-1 record. The team has made it to the playoffs in three seasons since Peterson made his NFL debut with Minnesota in 2007. The Vikings won the NFC North in 2008 and 2009 but have never won the Super Bowl.