Jared Allen, whose 12-year run of attacking NFL quarterbacks included a Vikings franchise-record 22 sacks in 2011, is a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist in his first year of eligibility.
And he's in some pretty good company.
Joining the former defensive end as finalists in their first year of eligibility are quarterback Peyton Manning, a five-time MVP and two-time Super Bowl winner; cornerback/safety Charles Woodson, who had 65 interceptions in an 18-year career; and receiver Calvin Johnson, who retired abruptly after only nine seasons but still made first-team All-Pro three times and was a member of the NFL's Team of the 2010s.
Other first-time finalists are linebacker Clay Matthews Jr., whose 19-year career with the Browns and Falcons ended in 1996; and Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber.
The rest of the finalists are receivers Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne; linebackers Sam Mills and Zach Thomas; safeties John Lynch and LeRoy Butler; defensive end Richard Seymour; tackle Tony Boselli; and guard Alan Faneca.
The Hall's 48-member selection committee will meet virtually Jan. 19 to pick the Class of 2021.
Up to five modern-era players will be selected. The committee also will vote on Tom Flores in the coaches category, Bill Nunn in the contributors category and Drew Pearson in the senior category. All candidates need 80% of the vote to get into the Hall of Fame.
Allen was a fourth-round pick of the Chiefs in 2004. In 2007, he earned the first of his four first-team All-Pro honors and led the league in sacks with 15½ while playing only 14 games because of a league suspension.
The Chiefs shipped him to the Vikings for a first-round and two third-round picks before the 2008 draft. Considered a character risk at the time, Allen never missed a game as a Viking. He had 85½ sacks in 96 games and helped the Vikings to the playoffs in 2008, 2009 and 2012.
He went on to play for the Bears (2014-15) and Panthers (2015) before retiring after the Panthers were upset by the Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
Sacks have been an official stat since 1982. Allen ranks 12th with 136. The eight eligible players ahead of him are all in the Hall of Fame.