Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Bears' Emery wouldn't be first GM to win a bet on Jared Allen

Posted by: Mark Craig under Bears Updated: April 2, 2014 - 10:37 AM

Jared Allen turns 32 years old on Thursday.

That'll make him six years older than his former understudy, Everson Griffen, which is the primary reason Allen is now a former Viking and current Chicago Bear dreaming of pretend calf-roping his way up and down TCF Bank Stadium this fall.

Allen's departure, which took place without so much as a preliminary discussion between the Vikings and Allen's agent, was universally accepted as making perfect sense. After all, there are only so many starting jobs and piles of money to go around in the NFL. Plus, the Vikings have a new coaching staff, a different defense and, let's be honest, they probably aren't going to win the NFC North, let alone the Super Bowl, before Jared celebrates birthday No. 33. The timing and circumstances made it a natural NFL split.

Griffen's age and expired contract made him the logical choice to receive the starting right end job and the 5-year, $42 million pile of cash. Had the Vikings clung to Allen, they would have lost Griffen because, well, four years and one NFL start was the extreme limit of Everson's patience as a promising heir apparent.

Given the same pick of players, the Bears probably would have made the same choice for the same reasons. But -- and this is a big but that seems to have been lost -- let's stop just assuming that Griffen at 26 will be better than Allen at 32. Even Griffen has admitted that his career to this point still comes with the label of great potential. Allen may have made 10- to 15-sack seasons look routine, but they're not.

Also, the Vikings know better than anyone that Jared Allen has a history of making gambles pay off. The Chiefs took a chance on him when he was a nobody at Idaho State. That paid off. The Vikings took a chance on Allen during his wild-child, one-step-from-a-lengthy-suspension phase. That paid off massively even though the cost was $73.26 million over six years and a package of draft picks that included a first-rounder.

For the Chiefs, Allen developed from fourth-round draft pick to elite defensive end. For the Vikings, Allen grew up and kept his nose out of trouble while progressing to potential Hall of Fame defensive end. For the Bears, Allen has to fight his toughest battle: Age.

Bears General Manager Phil Emery believes in Allen to the tune of up to $32 million over four years.

On Monday, Emery talked about how he always goes back and tries to confirm that his major decisions are going to be right decisions.

"After [a] signing has happened or after the choice has happened, I do a little transaction check," Emery said. "You can call it buyer’s remorse check if you want. But I always watch one  more tape after it’s happened to make sure that I had all the ducks aligned and that we are getting the person and the player that we thought we were."

Here's how that process went with the Allen signing, according to Emery:

"With Jared [Monday morning], before he came in to talk, I randomly went through his games and I looked and I said, ‘I need something at the end of the [2013] season,’ to see where his motor was at that part of the year, and I need something against a good opponent. Somebody that was in the playoffs. So I grabbed the Eagles tape [a 48-30 Vikings win]. I did not remember at the time that they put it on the Eagles pretty good.

"Let’s see what this guy’s got against Jason Peters, who went to the Pro Bowl. Two sacks, tackle for loss, two hits on the quarterback, two pressures, felt pretty good. Feel real good about him being here, so you passed the test Jared. Relentless player, high-energy player, successful in all areas of his life. He’s greatly grown through his time in the league. This is a five-time Pro Bowler, four-time all-pro. ... But he continues to have productivity and that’s why we were interested. At this point in his career with 11 ½ sacks last year, 52 tackles, in the top end of rushers in this league and the top end of defensive players. Very excited to have him here, very excited to welcome him."

Griffen was a good choice for a Vikings team in transition. But Allen also was a good choice for a Bears team that plays the Vikings twice a year.

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Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 5
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
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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 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
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

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