Vikings defensive end Jared Allen insisted Sunday evening he meant no harm with his blindside block of Bears guard Lance Louis in the Vikings' 28-10 loss at Chicago. But plenty of harm was done, with Louis tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and being placed on injured reserve Monday.
It's a huge blow to the 8-3 Bears, whose offensive line already was in disarray. Louis had become the unit's most dependable player, but his season ended on an Antoine Winfield interception in the third quarter. During Winfield's 31-yard return, Allen left his feet and used his right forearm to deliver a crushing shot on Louis, whose left foot was planted in the turf.
A day later, Chicago coach Lovie Smith questioned Allen's approach.
"Jared Allen plays the game a certain way. He's a good player in our league,'' Smith told reporters in Chicago. ''But I think there's some plays when you look at them again, you say, 'Hey, we could have done without [that]. I think our game can do without that play.' ''
Allen could face a steep fine for delivering an illegal hit on a defenseless opponent. The league's 2012 playing rules have plenty of provisions to protect defenseless players, a designation Louis fit as "a player who receives a blindside block when the blocker is moving toward or parallel to his own end line and approaches the opponent from behind or from the side."
NFL rules also identify it as "an illegal launch if a player leaves both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent."
Allen didn't draw a penalty on the play.
Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije told the Chicago Sun-Times: "Lance is quick. He's fast. But it's not a situation where he was just blazing and [Allen] had to lay him out to make a saving play. He hit him that way because he chose to hit him that way.''Pressure drop
The Bears entered Sunday's game ranked near the bottom of the league at allowing sacks. So why is it the only time Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was technically sacked was when he got his foot stepped on by his own lineman?
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said the Vikings rarely put the Bears in the position of having to get the ball deep downfield.
"They had a lot of 5-, 6-yard passes and trying to run after the catch," Frazier said. "So we didn't get them into the kind of game we needed to be, where we were able to take advantage of what we thought was an opportunity for our defensive line."
The Bears fell behind in their previous game against San Francisco and, with Jason Campbell at quarterback, gave up six sacks.
"In [the San Francisco] game they were behind," Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "They had to get receivers out and backs out to catch the ball. [Sunday] they chipped our ends and doubled up inside. That made it tough to get to the quarterback."Etc.
• Center John Sullivan said the Bears used an unusually high amount of stunts to get pressure on quarterback Christian Ponder.
"There were a lot of line stunts, but that's also because they were up by so much, we were forced to pass the ball. It's a byproduct of how the game is going. When a defense like the Bears can get you behind, and they can just pin their ears back and pass rush, it can be a pretty tough group to deal with."
• Middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley, who finished the game Sunday, has a shoulder sprain. Frazier didn't give a likelihood of Brinkley being available to practice Wednesday.
• Tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Harrison Smith, neither of whom finished the game Sunday, still are being evaluated for concussions. They'll have to pass the league-mandated concussion tests before being allowed to return.
• Frazier had no update on receiver Percy Harvin, who has missed the past two games because of a sprained left ankle. Frazier said he'll know more when Harvin goes through some drills with the training staff.