For the better part of the 2013 season, one of the constant storylines has been the status of Jared Allen and Kevin Williams. Both of them were in the final year of their contracts and, for the most part, they didn't really want to talk about it because it was a moot point. Their focus was on getting on with the 2013 season. As that came to an end Sunday with a 14-13 win over the Detroit Lions, both had a chance to address their situations.
For his part, Allen will have great memories of Minnesota, both on and the off the field, and, whether his career path takes him elsewhere or not, he will have fond memories of the team, the fans and the state that embraced him since 2008.
"I'm just trying to enjoy this moment – going out with a win," Allen said. "However the chips fall, I know these last six years have been amazing. I couldn't ask for more from this organization. I couldn't ask more from this state. It's been a blessing for myself and my family and, more so, I think how I've grown as a man. I came here as a 25-year-old to where I am now, it's been life-changing. I met my wife at that time, I got married, I had a daughter. It's been an absolute blessing."
Williams, who has been with the Vikings for all 11 seasons of his NFL career, found the emotions come home as he was leaving the field for what might be the last time.
"The toughest part was today," Williams said. "I've never been in this situation before. Hearing the crowd cheer for you for the last time in the Dome, it was a little tough."
The future for both players will be determined in the coming months, but Allen intends to sit down with management and lay their respective cards on the table and go from there."
"The conversations we've had have been between us and I plan to keep it that way," Allen said. "I've always been on the same page with them. There's no rug that's going to be pulled out underneath anybody. I'm not naive to the business side and neither are they. My relationships here with management and coaches have been great and awesome. I consider them dear friends. It will be honest conversation with the direction they're going and the direction I see my career going. If they're on the same path, great. If not, we'll part ways, but we'll do it with the best of intentions for everybody."
For Williams, his playing future has been hanging in limbo since he agreed to take the final year off his contract. He had kept the idea out of his mind, but, with the final game of the season over, now it's time to make the critical decisions moving forward in his life.
"The thing about it is that I haven't put a lot of thought into it until now," Williams said. "Now I will because it's a reality now. It's the last game on my contract with the Vikings. We'll see how free agency goes and play it from there. I want to play a couple more years. That's my hope and dream. But, it's in God's hands now."
Whether Williams or Allen or both are back with the Vikings next year, they've etched their place in Vikings history and have built a legacy that will be difficult to follow. Until free agency begins in March, there is the chance that the Vikings might try to negotiate a deal, but, whether they come back or not, neither holds a grudge and, if this was their last game as teammates with the Vikings, both will have fond memories of their time with the Vikings.
"I'll take some time to reflect, but this isn't a one-sided decision," Allen said. "We'll have to see where they're at. We'll have an honest conversation with everybody and we'll see where it goes. However it works out, it will work out the way it's supposed to."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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