Jared Allen is halfway home to the NFL sacks record, but that's not his focus, he says, with the Packers on the docket.
While the Vikings have limped to a 2-6 first half of the season, one person who hasn't had a finger pointed his way as one of the reasons for the dismal start has been Jared Allen
. Through eight games, Allen is on pace for 25 sacks, which would break the current NFL record of 22.5 sacks by Michael Strahan, who got the record when then-Packers QB Brett Favre took a dive that some claimed was intentional to get the record for Strahan.
Allen is on a record-setting sack pace, but said that the only time he thinks about it is when he's asked. Although he would like to set the record, he said it isn't anything he has been planning for or even giving much consideration to.
"I haven't even been paying attention to it," Allen said. "Honestly, I'm just trying to have some fun and play some football. That's been my focus – trying to win some football games."
Asked if he thinks he can get the record, Allen said he believes he can, but isn't making that his motivation or his primary impetus when he takes the field.
"Anything is attainable," Allen said. "At the start of every year everyone tries to attain greatness. But it can't be your focus. If the result is such, that means you've done a great job at the little things – preparing, going out every week and trying to do what it takes to help your team win. If you went out there and (the record) was all you were focusing on, you're probably not going to get it and you're not going to do a very good job at everything else you have to do."
Being faced up with backup Packers left tackle Marshall Newhouse
looks like an opportunity for Allen to add to his impressive sack total, but said if they come, they come, but he would prefer to get no sacks if it meant a Vikings win.
"I would much rather give them their first loss and come back here with a big old smile on my face and being at 3-6 than worrying about all that stuff," Allen said.
Allen said he is looking forward to the return of Antoine Winfield, who has been one of the team leaders on defense. Winfield has missed four games with a neck injury and Allen said he remembered when Winfield was injured a couple of years ago and returned against Cincinnati and had a huge game. "I'm expecting the same this time," Allen said with a laugh.
While Winfield will return, Anthony Herrera, as expected, has been ruled out for Monday's game. He will be replaced at right guard by Joe Berger.
Percy Harvin, who has been batting a painful rib injury for the last month, wasn't even listed on the Vikings' injury report leading up to Monday's game.
Three Packers – OT Chad Clifton (hamstring), LB Frank Zombo (hamstring) and DE Mike Neal (knee) – were all listed as out.
The other Packers – LB Clay Matthews (knee), G Josh Sitton (knee) and S Morgan Burnett (hand) – are all listed as probable and all three are expected to be fully available Monday night.
Chris Cook will miss his second game against the Packers, less than a month after missing the first meeting following a late-night arrest prior to the first Packers game at the Metrodome. While the team focus is on Monday's game at Lambeau Field, there is still the matter of how the team will deal with Cook's status. He remains separated from his teammates, while getting paid, which has some speculating that his quasi-reinstatement is the result of the new collective bargaining agreement.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.