This season's Pro Bowl invitations are currently being handed out on the NFL Network. And not surprisingly, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen will be headed to Honolulu next month. This will be Allen’s fourth Pro Bowl trip, a fitting reward for a star who has 18.5 sacks this season and is now just 2.5 sacks away from tying Chris Doleman’s single-season team record of 21.
In addition to his impressive sack total, Allen has added 36 quarterback hurries, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and an interception. He has been consistent all season and has emerged as a reliable locker room leader as well.
"It's been good, especially over the last couple of years as he has matured as a person -- not only being a very good athlete but he's become such a positive leader for us of late," coach Leslie Frazier said two weeks ago. "That helps me as a coach, in the locker room and on the field. So I've enjoyed watching him grow up and become the man that he is now along with being a great player. It's fun to watch him play. ... He wants to do the right thing to help us win. The passion he plays with and the fact that he wants to win so bad, as a coach you gotta love it."
The Pro Bowl trip is further validation of Allen's superb effort this season.
“This feels amazing,” Allen said. “This is obviously a high honor to be considered a Pro Bowler amongst my peers. And to be voted in, on an individual level, that’s what we play for – to be recognized by our peers. So it’s a phenomenal honor.”
Allen said his attitude and approach to the game changed some this season.
"I've just tried to go out there and have fun and honestly play as hard as I can," Allen said. "It's almost cliche. But I've tried to give 110 percent and just stay focused on the positives in my life instead of the losing season."