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.


Jared Allen named to Yahoo!'s All-Midseason team

Posted by: under NFC, Jared Allen Updated: November 8, 2011 - 12:54 PM

People are noticing.

Yep, Jared Allen's impressive play this season has caught more than a few eyes nationally. With 12.5 sacks through eight games, Allen is on pace to break Michael Strahan's single-season sacks record. He's also a good bet to receive an invitation to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl. (Allen has made three previous Pro Bowl trips.)

This week's honor: a spot on Yahoo! Sports' All-Midseason team. Yahoo!'s Jason Cole put together the squad, which features five players from the NFC North. Joining Allen from the division are quarterback Aaron Rodgers and cornerback Charles Woodson of Green Bay plus receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh from Detroit.

Of the 24 players selected, Allen is one of only four playing for a team that currently has a losing record. The others: Carolina center Ryan Kalil and receiver Steve Smith and Browns left tackle Joe Thomas.

Of Allen, Cole wrote: 

Over the first seven years of Allen’s career, he had an impressive 83 sacks, meaning that he averaged almost 12 a season for that stretch. That’s Hall-of-Fame pace (NFL all-time sack leader Bruce Smith had 78 in his first seven seasons). This season, Allen has [12.5] sacks in eight games. He is on pace to destroy Michael Strahan’s record of 22.5 sacks in 2001. Most impressive, Allen is doing that on a 2-6 team. Pass rushing is usually tied to having the lead and/or winning games. Allen is succeeding anyway.

Last week, Allen was also selected to the midseason All-Pro team of Sports Illustrated's Peter King. Wrote King:

[Allen] rededicated himself after a sub-par 2010 and zoomed past last year's sack total of 11 by mid-October. A relentless attacker who chases down plays when most linement would be jogging.

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