As the sacks pile up and the season's halfway barometer points to a record NFL pace, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen continues to downplay the 12.5 sacks he earned in the first half of the Minnesota Vikings' 2011 season.
"Honestly, I'm just trying to go out there and have fun, really. Each week trying to go out there and get a win and bring a positive attitude to the game," Allen said. "… We're going through some adversity right now and got to believe there's a reason for it and we'll come out a better team. As far as personally, me at the end of the year, we'll sit back and look at it. Right now, we're just trying to win some football games."
Although the wins have come sparingly, Allen has certainly contributed to the two victories the Vikings have, and he tried to make it a better first half of the season. With 12.5 sacks already, he is on pace to break the NFL single-season record of 22.5 held by Michael Strahan.
While Allen may pass on the public praise, his teammates realize what his value has been.
"He's had an unbelievable year, and I think he should get more attention than what he's got even though we haven't probably been where we needed to be," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "But I hope that we can get some more attention for him by winning some games.
The Vikings' next chance will come Monday night at Green Bay and Allen has had unprecedented success against the Packers.
His 12 career sacks in eight games against the Packers are the most against any opponent in the NFL. In the Vikings' Oct. 5, 2009 meeting against Green Bay, Allen registered 4.5 sacks, the second-most sacks in a game in Vikings history and a team record in the series history against Green Bay. He now has 11.5 sacks in his last six games against the Packers.
Given his success against Green Bay, which will be without left tackle Chad Clifton, who has as much success against Allen as any Packers offensive linemen who has tried, it would figure that Allen will see even more blockers coming his way.
"You expect it. You get it week in, week out, year in, year out," Allen said. "I got a couple new crack blocks from the outside in, which I'm still a little pissed the league doesn't consider that a defenseless player. But other than that, I expect it. But you just expect the other guys – if they concentrate on me, someone else is going to have a one-on-one – someone else is going to have an opportunity to make a play. More power to them and we'll find a way to get it done."
Allen is easily the leader of the Vikings' defensive pack. Brian Robison, the left defensive end, has 4.5 sacks, and Everson Griffen, who has been playing more of a joker role in which he could be on the defensive line or as a linebacker, has three sacks. But Allen has at least a half-sack in 10 straight games, an ongoing Vikings record.
He was named the NFC defensive player of the month for October, but Greenway isn't alone in thinking Allen would be receiving more recognition if the Vikings were winning more.
"That's the tough part. If we were winning, if we were 6-2, he would definitely be the front-runner for defensive player of the year," cornerback Antoine Winfield said. "But since we're not doing so well record-wise, it might be a little tough for him."
It's not like Allen came out of nowhere this season. He has five consecutive seasons with double-digit sacks, but his torrid pace – he has 22.5 sacks in his past 17 games and 11 in his past six – has observers waiting to see if Strahan's 10-year-old record will fall.
"At that point, it'll be like Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, just not being in New York," Greenway said. "Everybody will be talking about it, putting a hex on him, but the way he plays we're all coming along with him. He's playing at a high level so we're happy for him."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Allen enjoys unprecedented success vs. Pack
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