Vikings' gain a headache for Packers

Packer Report's Todd Korth explains why the Green Bay Packers never got into the sweepstakes for Pro Bowl defensive Jared Allen, who reportedly is headed to Minnesota in a blockbuster deal.

If Minnesota's blockbuster trade for defensive end Jared Allen is completed like reports say it will be, that's bad news for the Green Bay Packers and the rest of the Vikings' NFC North opponents. Bad news but not real bad news because the Vikings have more fixin' to do on their team aside from the defensive line, like quarterback.

Still, the Vikings are banking on Allen to almost single-handedly turn the franchise around. According to, Minnesota is giving Kansas City its 2008 first-round draft pick as well as two third-rounders, and the teams will swap sixth-round picks. The Vikings and Allen last weekend agreed to a deal that is around $74 million, including a whopping $31,000,069 guaranteed — 69 is his jersey number.

Where were the Green Bay Packers in all of this? With salary cap space of around $35 million after Brett Favre signs his retirement papers, the Packers probably could have gotten in on the Allen sweepstakes. But why not? Only Tampa Bay had been mentioned as another contender to acquire Allen, who had 15.5 sacks last year, 65 tackles and knocked down 11 passes. Allen brought down Favre once and disrupted Green Bay's offensive line on a number of other occasions in Green Bay's 33-22 victory over Kansas City last November.

Now the Packers will be facing Allen at least twice a season. Besides Allen, Minnesota's formidable defensive line also includes Pro Bowl tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, which will make running the ball that much more of a challenge.

Why? Why then didn't the Packers pursue Allen? We all know that general manager Ted Thompson hates to give up draft picks, so dealing three high picks wasn't going to fly. Though it's chump change compared to what Allen is expected to receive, the Packers have invested a lot of money in Pro Bowl defensive end Aaron Kampman ($21 million deal), Cullen Jenkins ($15.5 million) and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila ($33 million) in recent years.

The Packers probably could have dealt with the money issue, but dealing draft picks away, especially high ones, wasn't going to work with Thompson. The Packers defense would have gotten that much better with Allen this year but there is a price to pay for investing so much in one player down the road, too. The Packers chose to stay the course and improve through the draft and avoid salary cap hell in the future.

Also, Allen was been arrested three times in four years for DUI. Allen missed two games last year due to league suspension for a pair of DUI charges, so there may be some off-field problems with Allen that the Chiefs were happy to give to the Vikings.

We'll see, but for now Green Bay's season opener got that much more challenging.

Are the Vikings suddenly the team to beat in the NFC North with Allen? The Vikings have improved if this trade goes through, but not enough that they can talk Super Bowl. Green Bay is still the team to beat in the NFC North and maybe that's another reason why Thompson chose to shy away from Allen.

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