Vikings' Jared Allen confident going into a contract year

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 24, 2013 - 2:26 PM

This much Jared Allen knows: He’s a Viking for at least one more season, and when fall comes, he’ll be ready.

It’s a Monday in May and Jared Allen is reciting from the Book of Herm. ¶ “You always have to ask, ‘Do you love football or do you love what football gives you?’ ” ¶ The adage is borrowed from Herm Edwards, Allen’s head coach during his final two seasons in Kansas City. But this is the question the Vikings’ Pro Bowl defensive end is reminding himself to consider more as his career heads for an uncertain finishing stretch.

All in all, Allen feels terrific. He’s re-energized. He’s dedicated. He’s eyeing a dominant 2013 and believes he has three or four more good seasons left.

But there is also an intriguing subplot lurking.

In April, Allen turned 31. Two months earlier, he had surgeries to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder and a meniscus problem in his right knee.

And, oh yeah, he has entered the final year in his six-year contract.

So with all factors considered, could this really be Jared Allen’s last season as a Minnesota Viking? A farewell tour?

To be clear, that’s not Allen’s desire. But it could be his reality. Which is why he refuses to spend much time thinking about life beyond January.

“I pray about it,” Allen said.

“I talk to my wife. And we’ll end up going where the good Lord takes us. But I don’t know where that path is headed.”

Money issues

Ask Allen where he envisions himself a year from now and he’s only being honest declaring he has “absolutely no idea.” Prod him for his best-case scenario and he darts around that question as if it were a heavy-footed left tackle.

“Best-case scenario would have been that we would have never gotten to this point,” Allen said. “Best-case scenario would have been the organization would have gotten something done [on an extension] a few years back.

“Well ya know what? That’s not the case. And I understand it. … I’m just happy I’m in a spot where both sides are honoring the contract.”

That contract will pay Allen more than $14.2 million this season. But that also presents the awkward Catch-22. If Allen performs up to that level, the Vikings might have trouble affording the cost to re-sign him.

And if he delivers a subpar season by his standards, the team will have added incentive to find a younger, cheaper replacement.

Allen knows he won’t have full say in where his career finishes. But he does have control over the production he delivers this fall. Which is why he feels a renewed determination to get into the best shape possible.

Shouldering the load

Now in the final stages of his shoulder rehabilitation, Allen feels strong again. Leaner. More refreshed.

Those are all feelings that faded in 2012.

In Week 1, Allen says, he hurt his knee but was “too stubborn to get it checked out,” instead pressing through the discomfort for the next four months.

Even before that, the labrum tear in his shoulder began to worsen. Allen was no longer able to train the way he likes. In the weight room, he often couldn’t squat, unable to get his arm behind his head with the shoulder supporting the weight. Worse, the shoulder pain made nights miserable.

“I’d toss and turn all night, every night,” he said. “You get a couple hours of sleep and then you wake up. And it’s this throbbing, pulsating deep pain like somebody has an ice pick in your shoulder.”

In the last month or so, Allen’s normal sleep has returned, fueling his exuberance. Which is why he has such spirit about attacking his contract year.

“I kind of feel like I hold all the cards in that aspect,” Allen said. “And if it doesn’t work out with the Vikings, I’m not too worried that I won’t be able to find a job, ya know?”

For a beloved and hard-working star who has recorded 74 of his 117 career sacks as a Viking, Allen seems like the last player who’d need to worry about job security. But this is the NFL. And just two months ago, Allen was both stunned and deflated when cornerback Antoine Winfield, 35, was abruptly released.

“Especially with the way he played last year,” Allen said. “You’d have thought, heck if Antoine wants to stay around, he’s sticking around no matter what the cost is. But sometimes you forget what the business of football is.”

Five weeks later, fellow defensive lineman Kevin Williams, 32, had his contract restructured with more than $2.5 million lopped off his 2013 salary and the 2014 portion of his deal eliminated.

In March 2012, guard Steve Hutchinson had his six-year run as a Viking ended when his age (34), bulky contract and suddenly ordinary play convinced the team to release him.

And Allen also points to Matt Birk, whom the Vikings opted not to re-sign in 2008, ending an otherwise stellar 11-year union.

“There is a depressing side of this game,” Allen said. “Not everybody can finish it off like Ray Lewis, right?”

Aiming high

Very few players finish like Lewis did in February, showering in Super Bowl confetti. But it’s certainly an acceptable goal to chase. Which is why Allen has designs on making this season memorable.

He seems conflicted on how to assess his 2012, bristling at the idea that his season was ordinary. He still compiled 12 sacks and made his fifth Pro Bowl.

And, as always, Allen can quickly check off a list of sacks he should’ve had, the ones he says were in his arms. He mentions two on Andrew Luck plus a barely tardy hit on Alex Smith. There was also a sure strip sack Aaron Rodgers ducked out of and …

Well, Allen could keep going and going.

“In most players’ cases it’s the difference between five sacks and 10. Or eight and 12,” he said. “For the elite guys it’s the difference between 12, 13 or 14 and the upper teens and 20s. And that’s a big deal when you’re held to a higher standard.”

But Allen also realizes he wasn’t as disruptive as he could be last year with his injuries diminishing his explosion.

“I watch film and it is that extra inch, two inches, that little inside clear room where you have to push that guy across your body with that shoulder — it just wasn’t there last year,” Allen said. “Normally that gets you a sack versus a pressure. So you try to look at the numbers then and say OK, if I could have gotten 10 more of those on the ground, now we’re talking about NFL history.”

Allen badly wants a bigger piece of NFL history. He wants that single-season sacks record. He wants to win a Defensive Player of the Year award. He thirsts to win a Super Bowl.

With such big goals dangling and his health returning, Allen seems to be winding up to give Minnesota everything he has this season. And yes, it could be his last here.

“No one’s untouchable,” Allen said. “I get that.”

 

Dan Wiederer dan.wiederer@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Video: Wiederer: Previewing Vikings' OTAs

    Monday May 27, 2013

    The Star Tribune's Dan Wiederer joins CineSport's Noah Coslov to discuss the who to watch for at Vikings' OTAs...

  • Souhan: Urlacher knew only one way: the Bears way

    Friday May 24, 2013

    The star middle linebacker went out like Butkus and Singletary did.

  • Adrian Peterson delivers ear-catching remark on gay marriage

    Thursday May 23, 2013

    The league MVP had some interesting things to say in a SiriusXM radio interview on Thursday about friend Chris Kluwe and some off-the-field topics.

  • Defensive end Jared Allen, entering the final year of a six-year contract, has 117 career NFL sacks — 74 of which have come with the Vikings.

  • Jared Allen is entering the last season of a six-year deal. The 31-year-old Allen will be making $14.2 million.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia 0 Top 5th Inning
Oakland 0
Toronto 1 Bottom 4th Inning
NY Yankees 1
Arizona 0 Top 4th Inning
Colorado 4
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 4th Qtr 3:39
Colorado 21
Marshall 41 4th Qtr 7:45
Akron 10
Army 21 3rd Qtr
Wake Forest 14
Virginia 16 3rd Qtr
(21) BYU 13
(6) Texas A&M 38 3rd Qtr
SMU 3
Rutgers 24 3rd Qtr
Navy 14
Central Mich 3 3rd Qtr
Kansas 7
Utah 13 3rd Qtr
Michigan 10
North Carolina 20 2nd Qtr 3:08
East Carolina 28
Florida 14 2nd Qtr 3:00
(3) Alabama 21
Louisville 7 2nd Qtr
FIU 0
Texas State 14 Delayed 13:35
Illinois 6
Fla Atlantic 6 2nd Qtr 0:20
Wyoming 10
Indiana 14 2nd Qtr 5:58
(18) Missouri 14
San Jose St 7 2nd Qtr 0:04
Minnesota 10
Massachusetts 0 2nd Qtr 3:33
Penn State 27
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close