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49ers' Shanahan: McCaffrey a leader in MVP race

Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan backed running back Christian McCaffrey as this season's NFL MVP.

"Without a doubt," Shanahan said Friday when asked if McCaffrey has made himself a legitimate candidate this year, according to Grant Cohn of All49ers.

The MVP honor has been awarded to quarterbacks in the last 10 seasons. The last non-QB to win the award was former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in 2012.

"I know it goes to quarterbacks the majority of the time, and there are plenty of worthy quarterbacks, but you definitely can't say that Christian is behind anyone," Shanahan added. "He's as valuable in this league as anyone."

McCaffrey has put on a show in 2023, rushing for a league-high 939 yards (4.9 per carry) and 11 touchdowns. He's also caught 48 passes for 389 yards and five scores.

McCaffrey's 16 scrimmage TDs lead the NFL. The 27-year-old has scored at least one touchdown in all but one game this season, and his four appearances with at least two scores are also tied for the most in the league.

Many around the NFL also see the 49ers' Brock Purdy as an MVP candidate. Purdy has been arguably the sport's most efficient quarterback and leads the league in pass completion percentage, passer rating, and EPA/play.

The 49ers visit the Jalen Hurts-led Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in a rematch of last season's NFC title game, which could have major implications in the MVP race. Hurts is currently the favorite to win football's most prestigious individual award.

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