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Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has close connections to two of Saturday's Hall of Fame inductees -- former defensive end Chris Doleman and offensive tackle Willie Roaf.

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Vikings notes: Jared Allen's idols make Hall

  • August 4, 2012 - 12:21 AM

Staff writers Mark Craig and Dan Wiederer blog at Access Vikings on startribune.com. Here is Dan's report from Friday:

Allen has idols

Let's be honest: Vikings defensive end Jared Allen would much rather be in Canton, Ohio, than in Mankato on Saturday. And it's not just because he wants a reason to skip the Vikings' nighttime practice. The Pro Football Hall of Fame's induction ceremony is Saturday evening. And Allen has close connections to two of the five inductees -- former defensive end Chris Doleman and offensive tackle Willie Roaf.

Allen broke Doleman's single-season Vikings' record for sacks (21) last season with 22 of his own. Doleman was on hand at Mall of America Field during the season finale, rooting Allen on as he totaled 3.5 sacks against Chicago, setting the Vikings' record.

Allen has always been appreciative of Doleman's support. And he still has a ways to go to catch up to Doleman's career sack total of 150.5, currently 45.5 behind that.

"Getting to know him over the years has been really cool," Allen said. "Especially the way he came out for that Chicago game to be there just in case I broke his record. And when I broke his record, man, he gave me a big old hug and congratulated me. I congratulated him this morning. And he's deserving."

Allen also gushed with praise about Roaf. The two were teammates together in 2004 and 2005 in Kansas City, Allen's first two seasons in the NFL and Roaf's final two.

"Willie, in my opinion, is probably one of the best tackles to ever play the game," Allen said. "And to have that tutelage every day and listen to him talk about what he's looking for getting a pass rush, what he's looking for in a run fit, how he's going to block something, that back and forth really elevated my mental game."

Getting mighty thin

The Vikings offensive line depth is quickly diminishing. Four linemen -- Geoff Schwartz, Pat Brown, DeMarcus Love and Kevin Murphy -- either missed Friday's practice altogether or had to leave because of injury or illness.

Most notably, Schwartz is expected to miss several weeks because of a sports hernia, two league sources confirmed late Friday night. Schwartz was sent to the Twin Cities to obtain further evaluation on Friday, and the MRI revealed the injury, the sources said.

Schwartz, who has been working as the backup to Brandon Fusco at right guard, had trouble staying healthy the past year. He was on injured reserve all last season with Carolina after having surgery on his right hip.

The Vikings moved quickly, announcing they signed Grant Cook, a 6-4, 318-pound guard who can also play tackle. Undrafted rookie defensive end Eric Latimore was released to make room for Cook on the 90-man roster.

Cook signed with the Packers as an undrafted rookie but was released on July 25. He has been reunited with former Arkansas teammates Jarius Wright and Greg Childs, the receiving duo the Vikings picked up in the fourth round.

In other notable injury news on the offensive line, Pat Brown has a Grade 1 medial collateral ligament sprain and will miss Saturday's practice. Love is still dealing with a shoulder injury. And Murphy left Friday's practice because of heat-related symptoms and, according to coach Leslie Frazier, was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Frazier said the hospital visit was precautionary and that Murphy is OK.

Gone is the wind

Safety Eric Frampton suffered a scary spill during 7-on-7 work, with receiver Stephen Burton landing directly on top of him as the two fought for a pass. Frampton was taken off the field on a golf cart and missed the rest of practice. Frazier said Frampton just got the wind knocked out of him. Frampton said he was OK as he walked off the field after practice.

Under the lights

The Vikings will hold a night scrimmage Saturday inside Blakeslee Stadium, beginning at 7 p.m. There won't be any live tackling in that session.

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