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 before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Allen finds rhythm with pass rush

Posted by: under Vikings, Bears, Packers, Leslie Frazier, Vikings players, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier Updated: November 20, 2010 - 8:58 AM

The NFL awarded Jared Allen a second sack from last Sunday's game against the Bears, giving him two for the game.

After an unusually slow start to the season, the Pro Bowl defensive end has compiled 4.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hurries and 14 tackles in the past two games.

"I told you guys not to worry," Allen said. "There’s a lot of circumstances that lead to sacks. You’ve got to get the guy to the ground. I don’t know how many I’ve missed this year. I missed two in the Green Bay game. In that Arizona game, they had to spread the ball out and they had to go down the field. They couldn’t check the ball down. They held the ball a little longer.

"That starts some momentum, gives you some confidence that gets you out of that so-called slump. Then I had a good game against Chicago. It’s one of those things you keep plugging away. More importantly, we’re trying to win football games. That gets lost in the shuffle. When you’re losing everybody wants to know why you’re losing or who’s not doing their job. There’s a lot of circumstances to a lot of things."

Allen has another tough matchup Sunday against Green Bay left tackle Chad Clifton. Allen said last season that some of his best one-on-one battles in his career have come against Clifton.

Clifton held Allen mostly in check in the first meeting this season. Allen was credited with two tackles, no sacks, four hurries, an interception and a pass breakup. Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said the Packers used Clifton one-on-one against Allen more than most teams.

"Clifton is a good player," Allen said. "We’ve had battles. It’s always fun. I hope I get one-on-one opportunities because I think that puts it to my advantage [at Mall of America Field]."

Allen touched on a number of other topics with beat writers on Friday:

-- On how much home crowd noise helps the pass rush: "It’s huge. Playing at home is always an advantage. You’ve got the energy of the crowd -- please don’t boo us. I know we haven’t won but we’ve given you some good years the last couple years too. At home, the crowd is going, you’ve got that energy. It evens the playing field a little bit. If the o-lineman is on the silent count and has to watch to see when the ball is snapped, at least now we both have to watch the ball to see when it’s snapped versus them knowing the count."

-- On the crowd being lethargic throughout the Arizona game before the fourth-quarter comeback: "Can you blame them? I don’t blame them. You come out at halftime and I think we were down four and the kickoff that’s supposed to go our way, they score on. If I’m a fan, I’m like, ‘Ah [heck].’ You don’t blame them. We just ask that you stick with us. We’re going to right this ship one way or another."

 -- On their 3-6 record: "At this point, people’s character get tested. You find out when you’re in a bad situation who really likes football. Who loves football and loves to go play and who’s going to put it on the line every single week -- win, lose or draw. We have seven games left and they all mean something to us. We’re not out of it yet. We have to go out there and we’ve got to play good Vikings football and pin our ears back and go hit people in the mouth and forgot about all the crap that’s been going on and just win a football game."



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