Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, the guy who orchestrated the trade that brought Jared Allen to the Vikings in 2008, paid tribute to the former Vikings defensive end, who announced his retirement earlier today.
“Just wanted to congratulate Jared Allen on his retirement,” Spielman told reporters gathered at Winter Park for a pre-scouting combine get-together. “He is a very unique individual. We were very fortunate to have him with the Minnesota Vikings while I was here. He was a great player for us. He will always be a Minnesota Viking. I think he’s one of the best players that ever played here with the Vikings.
“I’m excited for his retirement so we don’t have to play him. He was a great influence and a great player for us.”
Leery of Allen’s off-the-field behavior, the Kansas City Chiefs traded Allen to the Vikings in 2008 for a first-round draft pick and two third-rounders. Spielman wasn’t the general manager, but he oversaw the draft and was instrumental in the trade.
Allen, who had been suspended for the first two games of the 2007 season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, was considered a character risk at the time. The Vikings also gave him a six-year, $73.5 million deal, the richest for a defender in league history at the time.
Allen, of course, turned out to be one of the best acquisitions in team history. He played six of his 12 NFL seasons for the Vikings, never missing a start while recording 85 1/2 of his 136 career sacks. Four of his five Pro Bowls and three of his four first-team All-Pro selections came as a Viking.
Allen is tied for ninth on the career sacks list, but should drop soon. He is tied with Packers linebacker Julius Peppers and 1 1/2 sacks ahead of Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware.