The Minnesota Vikings shocked everyone to make the playoffs in 2012. Now they’re a year older and wiser as they look to repeat that feat, though that reality is not necessarily beneficial for everyone in Minnesota.
Now 31, Jared Allen is getting up there in defensive lineman years. He is set to play his tenth career season, looking ahead with the foresight to keep improving on the Vikes’ pleasantly surprising past campaign.
“One thing we’re really focused on is really being more consistent on the defensive side of the ball, he tells Tiki, Brandon, and Dana on The Morning Show. “We had games where we just stifled their run game and kind of all around we had turnovers and played great. And then a couple weeks later you kind of fall off. So that’s one thing we’ve been harping on is consistency in both the run game and the turnover game.”
To Allen, it’s all just a matter of execution. From old teammates to newcomers, he believes in the players around him so long as everyone is committed to the system.
“Right now, our front seven I think is deep and as talented as it’s ever been since I’ve been here,” Allen claims. “And as far as the talent on the back end, we have DBs that are big, long, fast, have a range and can cover.”
“We keep the pressure on the young guys,” he adds. “We don’t let them use that ‘I’m young’ excuse. My theory is, we’re all professional. Once you start getting a paycheck, you got to play up to the level you’re capable of playing.”
Of course, there is one wild card in Minny’s defensive unit: Allen himself. He is just two years removed from recording 22 sacks, 0.5 behind Michael Strahan’s single-season mark, yet he has also been mulling retirement. A seventh-straight season with double-digit sack is in play for Allen, but it’s no guarantee.
“Football, it slows down for you over the years,” he sighs. “I remember when I first came in, you’re trying to get a starting job, so you’re just physical, working, working, working, working, working. And once you get that, you’re kind of like, ‘Where am I going to go from here?’”
“And once you realize that everybody’s talented, everybody’s strong, everybody’s fast, what separates you is what kind of condition you can get your body in,” Allen continues. “Can you be better conditioned than the guy across from you so when you’re tired, you’re not?”
Fortunately for the Vikings, Allen’s retirement plans will wait at least another year. For now, he is making the most of training camp and looking to excel yet again in the regular season.”
“It’s going about as good as it can go,” he says. “I’m feeling good. Coaches are taking good care of me, so I’m ready to rock and roll here.”