2012: Adrian Peterson Rushed for 2,097 yards, second most in NFL history, and was named the league’s MVP, leading the Vikings to a 10-6 record and a wild-card playoff berth.
2011: Seimone Augustus After two years of misfortune, the Lynx star dug deep and inspired her team to a WNBA title.
2010: Earl Santee The architect of Target Field turned a desolate urban parking lot into the “best ballpark in America.”
2009: Brett Favre Future Hall of Famer led the Vikings to a 12-4 regular season and into the NFC Championship Game. At age 40, Favre completed 68 percent of his passes and threw 33 touchdown passes.
2008: Lindsey Vonn Getting her start on Burnsville’s Buck Hill, Vonn became the most successful downhill skier in U.S. history and the first American woman in 25 years to win the World Cup overall title.
2007 Adrian Peterson The Vikings rookie became an instant star, and in only his eighth game set an NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards against the Chargers.
2006: Twins organization A playoff team with a Cy Young Award winner (Johan Santana), an MVP (Justin Morneau) and a batting champ (Joe Mauer) also got approval for a new outdoor stadium.
2005: Greg Eslinger Virtually unnoticed by recruiters, the consensus All-America center became one of the greatest Gophers and won the Outland Trophy.
2004: Lindsay Whalen The driving force behind the transformation of the Gophers women’s basketball program into a Final Four team.
2003: John Gagliardi The St. John’s legend earned his 409th victory on Nov. 8, 2003, becoming college football’s winningest coach, and his team won the NCAA Division III national title.
2002: Harry Crump Hennepin County judge issued a restraining order that kept the Twins out of MLB’s contraction plans.
2001: Joe Mauer The baseball, basketball and football star at Cretin-Derham High was one of the state’s all-time great prep athletes before he put on a Twins uniform.
2000: Jac Sperling The Wild’s chief executive officer led the NHL back to Minnesota and started the rally to build Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul.
1999: Glen Mason The Gophers’ most successful football season in three decades (culminating with a Sun Bowl matchup vs. Oregon) earned him Coach of the Year honors from his Big Ten peers.
1998: Randall Cunningham Out of football before joining the Vikings as a backup quarterback, he led the team to a 15-1 regular season at the age of 35.
Note: Candidates are nominated by members of the Star Tribune sports department, and a selection committee of staff members makes the final choice.