Spotlight on Allen's sacks fades with losing

Jared Allen is a half sack off the NFL lead and setting all kinds of league and Vikings records, but playing for a losing team means he isn't getting as much national attention as he otherwise might. Allen and Leslie Frazier talked about that, pressuring Matthew Stafford and more.

Jared Allen is only 2½ sacks away from reaching 100 for his career and is second in the NFL with 14½ sacks this year, a half-sack behind the Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware.

Yet, as Allen prepares to face the Detroit Lions Sunday, there is a feeling his efforts might be glossed over nationally because of the Vikings' losing season – they are 2-10 and haven't won since Oct. 30.

"He is having an incredible year. It kind of gets drowned out a little bit by the way our season has gone, but he has had a terrific year, both against the run as well as rushing the passer," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "The sacks are what gets everyone's attention, but he is having an MVP-type season, just unfortunate that our team hasn't done enough for him to get the notoriety that he so deserves."

On a national stage, the Vikings have essentially become an afterthought. As much as the daily drama of Brett Favre wore on his teammates in Minnesota, it brought the national television and print media crews to the Vikings' Winter Park headquarters on pretty much a weekly basis. Now, without the daily headline generator at quarterback and with the Vikings' record following Favre south, other Vikings may not be getting the attention they had previously.

"You know, probably if we were having a better (season), probably be in the running for defensive player of the year," Allen told Detroit reporters on a conference call this week. "But you know what? There's a reason for it. Something good will come out of it. We'll be a better team in the future for it."

After going two games without a sack, Allen got back on track last Sunday with a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery of Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow – all in one play. Allen also tied an NFL record that hadn't been touched in more than 25 years when he recorded the fourth safety of his career, joining Ted Hendricks (1969-83) and Doug English (1975-85) as the only players to ever accomplish that.

After a red-hot start that at one time had him on pace for more than 25 sacks this season – the NFL record is 22½ by Michael Stahan in 2001 – Allen is now on pace for just over 19.

In eight games against the Detroit Lions, Allen has 6½ sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles. Lately, he's been going up against Detroit left tackle Jeff Backus, a player that Allen said is very quiet on the field.

"I think he's a good player. You know, he's been in the league a long time, been in Detroit a long time. So, you know, it's one of those things – I guess it's becoming to be a constant in my career," Allen said. "Since about '07, I've played against him every year and it's a familiar face. It's fun to have those battles; it's fun to be able to see some of the same people year in and year out."

On Dec. 7, 2008, Allen had two sacks against the Lions. That was also the year in which he gave chase as then-Lions quarterback Dan Orlosvsky ran out of the back of the Metrodome end zone for one of Allen's four safeties. He also has one of his five career interceptions against the Lions.

These days, Allen is chasing a much more accomplished Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford. Through 12 games, Stafford already has 3,527 yards passing, 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He has been sacked an average of twice a game. A whopping five of those came on Sept. 25 against the Vikings.

"We were able to dictate the pace and we were able to make them do things on our terms, versus (when) you get into second, third and short, now the playbooks kind of open. We were able to hit Stafford. He wasn't able to get into a rhythm, so I think that was kind of the weakness," Allen said.

"If you can just kind of chink that armor just a little bit, you know, we've seen that he gets a little rattled. I mean, what was it? The Bears did a good job of that and it can snowball."

Allen will be the main pursuer of Stafford on Sunday. He has 14½ of the Vikings' 35 sacks, and their second-place sacker, Brian Robison with 5½, has been trying to recover from a concussion suffered on Sunday.

Allen maintains that winning is first and foremost, and the Lions won that September meeting, becoming the record third straight Vikings opponent to overcome a double-digit halftime lead and beat the Vikings 26-23 in overtime.

"We've been up in a lot of games this year and we just blow it. I feel like the Mets over here," Allen said.

"Obviously (we) aren't playing in the playoffs. I always tell people misery loves company and it's pretty miserable around here. So, I'm trying to drag as many folks into it as I can."


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"Jared Allen is only 2½ sacks away from reaching 100 for his career and is second in the NFL with 14½ sacks this year, a half-sack behind the Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware. Yet, as Allen prepares to face the Detroit Lions Sunday, there is a feeling his efforts might be glossed over nationally because of the Vikings' losing season – they are 2-10 and haven't won since Oct. 30. \"He is having an incredible year. It kind of gets drowned out a little bit by the way our season has gone, but he has had a terrific year, both against the run as well as rushing the passer,\" Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. \"The sacks are what gets everyone's attention, but he is having an MVP-type season, just unfortunate that our team hasn't done enough for him to get the notoriety that he so deserves.\" On a national stage, the Vikings have essentially become an afterthought. As much as the daily drama of Brett Favre wore on his teammates in Minnesota, it brought the national television and print media crews to the Vikings' Winter Park headquarters on pretty much a weekly basis. Now, without the daily headline generator at quarterback and with the Vikings' record following Favre south, other Vikings may not be getting the attention they had previously. \"You know, probably if we were having a better (season), probably be in the running for defensive player of the year,\" Allen told Detroit reporters on a conference call this week. \"But you know what? There's a reason for it. Something good will come out of it. We'll be a better team in the future for it.\" After going two games without a sack, Allen got back on track last Sunday with a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery of Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow – all in one play. Allen also tied an NFL record that hadn't been touched in more than 25 years when he recorded the fourth safety of his career, joining Ted Hendricks (1969-83) and Doug English (1975-85) as the only players to ever accomplish that. After a red-hot start that at one time had him on pace for more than 25 sacks this season – the NFL record is 22½ by Michael Stahan in 2001 – Allen is now on pace for just over 19. In eight games against the Detroit Lions, Allen has 6½ sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles. Lately, he's been going up against Detroit left tackle Jeff Backus, a player that Allen said is very quiet on the field. \"I think he's a good player. You know, he's been in the league a long time, been in Detroit a long time. So, you know, it's one of those things – I guess it's becoming to be a constant in my career,\" Allen said. \"Since about '07, I've played against him every year and it's a familiar face. It's fun to have those battles; it's fun to be able to see some of the same people year in and year out.\" On Dec. 7, 2008, Allen had two sacks against the Lions. That was also the year in which he gave chase as then-Lions quarterback Dan Orlosvsky ran out of the back of the Metrodome end zone for one of Allen's four safeties. He also has one of his five career interceptions against the Lions. These days, Allen is chasing a much more accomplished Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford. Through 12 games, Stafford already has 3,527 yards passing, 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He has been sacked an average of twice a game. A whopping five of those came on Sept. 25 against the Vikings. \"We were able to dictate the pace and we were able to make them do things on our terms, versus (when) you get into second, third and short, now the playbooks kind of open. We were able to hit Stafford. He wasn't able to get into a rhythm, so I think that was kind of the weakness,\" Allen said. \"If you can just kind of chink that armor just a little bit, you know, we've seen that he gets a little rattled. I mean, what was it? The Bears did a good job of that and it can snowball.\" Allen will be the main pursuer of Stafford on Sunday. He has 14½ of the Vikings' 35 sacks, and their second-place sacker, Brian Robison with 5½, has been trying to recover from a concussion suffered on Sunday. Allen maintains that winning is first and foremost, and the Lions won that September meeting, becoming the record third straight Vikings opponent to overcome a double-digit halftime lead and beat the Vikings 26-23 in overtime. \"We've been up in a lot of games this year and we just blow it. I feel like the Mets over here,\" Allen said. \"Obviously (we) aren't playing in the playoffs. I always tell people misery loves company and it's pretty miserable around here. 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