Vikings' Allen faces tough task in Browns' All-Pro Thomas

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 21, 2013 - 12:21 AM

The Vikings’ Jared Allen rarely gets blocked one- on-one, but the Browns’ Joe Thomas gets that task.

Vikings defensive end Jared Allen typically encounters his share of double teams, chip blocks and max-protection schemes designed to neutralize his pass rush. Probably not this week, though.

Allen anticipates a tough, old-fashioned one-on-one duel against Cleveland Browns All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas, who usually operates on an island, sans help.

“I’m excited to see who’s going to win on each given play,” Allen said.

This is a heavyweight matchup between two of the best at their respective positions in the NFL. Allen has been named first-team All-Pro four times; Thomas three times. They have a combined for 11 Pro Bowl nominations.

Allen has compiled the most sacks (118) in the NFL since entering the league in 2004. Thomas has started all 98 games in his career and has not missed a single offensive snap.

Their only meeting came in the 2009 season opener in Cleveland. Allen was credited with only one tackle and no sacks in a 34-20 victory.

Allen said he appreciates matchups like this one because he knows he’ll get his share of single blocks. Thomas doesn’t need extra help to hold his own.

“The guy is, if not the top offensive tackle in the league, he’s definitely one of them,” Allen said. “A lot of it comes down to being really good on first and second down and force them into third-and-long. You force a team to spread out and you can create some one-on-one opportunities.”

Third-and-long also brings crowd noise into the equation, something the Vikings use to their advantage at Mall of America Field. Since 2008, the Vikings have collected 119 sacks in 38 games at the Metrodome. They have 98 sacks in 42 games on the road in that same span.

Their pass rush is simply harder to contain at home because of the effect crowd noise has on offensive linemen.

“You feel like you got them on their heels vs. when you’re in an opponent’s stadium, you can hear everything,” Allen said. “Here at the Dome, that energy and the onus is on them to communicate. The onus is on them to get the snap count and we just go. It definitely helps.”

Thomas hasn’t played an NFL game at the Metrodome, but he understands the challenge that awaits an offensive line that has struggled to protect its quarterback through two games.

“It’s really loud and it’s a fast turf,” he said. “Those two things put together are always difficult for offensive linemen. And for the last several years, the Vikings have had a really good defensive line with good pass rushers. So you put a place where it’s difficult to hear the snap count and the calls and the adjustments together with fast rushers and a fast turf, those are difficult situations to work under.”

The Browns aren’t exactly an impenetrable outfit right now, either. They lead the NFL in sacks allowed (11) and quarterback hits (27). Complicating matters is the Browns are starting their No. 3 quarterback, Brian Hoyer, and they traded running back Trent Richardson to the Colts in the middle of the week.

Despite the chaos, Thomas remains a stalwart on the left side, and the Browns need him to handle his matchup with Allen without requiring much help.

“He’s very crafty,” Thomas said. “He’s very fast, athletic, he bends really well and he doesn’t have many weaknesses. I think that’s what made him such an enduring defensive end and getting the number of sacks that he’s gotten year in and year out.”

The Browns are one of only four teams that Allen hasn’t registered a sack against in his career, along with the Saints, Steelers and Seahawks. Of course, he’s only faced the Browns two times in his career. He hopes to remove one team from that list Sunday.

“I try to go out every week and just do whatever I’ve got to do to win a football game and try to be the best,” he said. “But I appreciate you pointing that out.”

  • related content

  • Snapshot look at Vikings-Browns

    Saturday September 21, 2013

    Our snapshot look as the Vikings prepare for Sunday’s game against the Browns at Mall of America Field:

  • Kevin Williams approaches record

    Friday September 20, 2013

    Kevin Williams will start his 158th game on Sunday, passing Hall of Famer Alan Page for most career starts by a Vikings defensive tackle.

  • Jared Allen

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 86 4th Qtr 1:45
Phoenix 95
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



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 NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9




question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question