Allen leads by example (sans heroin)

Categories: Sports

Allen is just the right kind of crazy

"Well, they tried to amputate it earlier. That was tough. I did some electric shock therapy. I don't know what that had to do with my shoulder. They recommended heroin, but I said that was against all legal policies, so I stayed well away from that."
-Vikings defensive end Jared Allen regarding his right shoulder injury, four days prior to gameday

Adrian Peterson will deservedly nab the wealth of ink and quote from Minnesota's 28-27 win over the Packers. A.P. rushed for a crazy 192 yards, scored the winning touchdown with less than three minutes remaining, and now leads the league in rushing with 1,015 ground yards.

I wear a #28 on Sundays. I love A.P. How can one not? He's recorded 12 100-yard rush efforts in his 23 career games, and is reminding me more of a young Eric Dickerson than any back in recent memory.

But Jared Allen's presence on the field Sunday was as much about attitude as it was about amplitude. Entering the contest listed as "Doubtful," donning a restrictive harness over his grade-three sprained right shoulder, and opting for a pain-killing injection instead of smack, Jared Allen is giving the Minnesota Vikings an identity.

Inked to a six-year, $74 million deal in the offseason, Allen recorded two solo tackles and his eighth sack of the season (good for a safety) yesterday as the Vikings gained a (non-tiebreaker) tie for first place in the NFC North with 5-4 Chicago, who went down to undefeated Tennessee, 21-14. Pat Williams brings our D-line in girth, laughs, and experience. Kevin Williams brings in pure All-Pro talent. Jared Allen sports a combination of thereof. He's fun to watch and a bear to oppose. He seems like a dude that would don a leather helmet if asked, and he makes me want to go watch North Dallas Forty again.

We can only hope that the $50,000 Allen was fined for last week's hits on Houston quarterback Matt Schaub doesn't alter his aggressive mentality. Allen was flagged yesterday for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Aaron Rodgers, which, strangely, is probably a good thing. We can't have a Jared Allen who plays with fines on the mind. His effectiveness is reliant upon reckless tunnel vision, a focus for which dollar signs don't apply. That's not dirty -- it's just football.

Brad Childress is a little less green after yesterday's win, his first over Green Bay after losing his first five. Myriad questions and concerns continue to dog this bunch, namely the sorry special teams effort, which has now allowed six touchdowns this season, including an NFL-worst four punt returns for a score. Furthermore, the Vikings' 18.1 yards allowed per punt return is also worst in the league, and their 22.5 yards allowed per kickoff return is 9th in the NFC.

For a team that is as inconsistent with the aerial dimension as the Vikings, there is little or no room for further special teams'miscues. There's just no more wiggle room there, something that will become of overt note when we visit Tampa next Sunday. The Bucs allow just 16.3 points per game, good for fourth best in the league, so points will be at a premium.

Special teamers are kind of like offensive linemen in that we don't know them until they muck up. We know Jared Allen. We know Adrian Peterson. We need to stop knowing the guys on Special Teams coach Paul Ferraro's respective and bungled units.


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