Vikings defensive end Jared Allen plans to wait until after the Pro Bowl to have surgery to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder.
Allen has played the entire season with the injury.
"It was tough because part of my game is an inside counter move and I just didn't have the complete strength," Allen said Tuesday as Vikings players exited the locker room for the final time as a team. "There's a couple of times that I was sitting there watching the quarterback right there and I'm just trying to get a couple of more inches of separation, which is the difference of a tackle where you get a hand on him versus wrapping him up."
During the 2011 season, Allen came within a half sack of tying Michael Strahan's single-season sack record of 22½. In 2012, while dealing with the shoulder injury, Allen finished with 12 sacks.
He said it would probably take a few months to recover from the surgery, meaning he will likely miss at least the start of the Vikings' offseason conditioning program that starts in April, but Allen has been allowed to train away from the team in past offseasons.
Allen said the delay in surgery this year is so he can enjoy the Pro Bowl.
"I've played with it all year; I'm going to at least enjoy the benefits of it, right? That's like going to the ice cream shop and not getting any ice cream. I'll at least enjoy the free trip to Hawaii," he said.
He also praised the Vikings training staff for how they handled the injury.
"I think this is one of the best training staffs I've ever dealt with," he said. "… Some strength coaches can be knuckleheads and force you to do things. Never the case (here)."
Allen said the injury also affected his sleep pattern.
"You don't sleep well at night. I'm a left-sided sleeper so I had to learn to sleep on my right side," he said. "Just typical wear and tear and pains. It sucks, but like I've said all year, everybody goes through things. There's not one person that's ‘healthy' throughout an entire year that's 100 percent. You do what you've got to do. You get your rest and you go out there on game day and you just put it out of your mind and you go out and play and just change stuff and just do what you can do."
Allen has also dealt with groin and back problems this year, but he still led the Vikings with 38 quarterback hurries and 17 tackles for losses while adding 59 tackles, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
PRACTICE SQUAD RE-SIGNED
The Vikings re-signed their entire season-ending practice squad to reserve/futures contracts.
That list includes DT Chase Baker, RB Joe Banyard, TE LaMark Brown, DB Bobby Felder, TE Chase Ford, G Tyler Holmes, T Kevin Murphy and WR Chris Summers.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.