Allen not giving up on sacks record

Jared Allen is happy to be named to the Pro Bowl, but he has more immediate goals in mind – at least leading the league in sacks and still pursuing the NFL single-season record. Allen talked about his goals and how Michael Strahan reached his record.

If there has been a shining moment in an otherwise dismal Vikings season, it has been Jared Allen's pursuit of the all-time single-season sack record. When the Pro Bowl rosters were announced Tuesday, Allen was the only Viking named to the squad – a far cry from the 10 Vikings named to the team in 2009.

Allen, who was selected for the fourth time in the last five years to the annual NFL all-star game, said that, while individual achievements must be placed within the context of the team game, said he was honored to be selected by his peers as one of the best at his position, adding that his infant daughter will be traveling long distance for the first time.

"It means a lot," Allen said. "I'm excited. I'm going to take the family over – my little girl's first trip to Hawaii."

Allen's individual honor is a stark contrast to the malaise that the Vikings have endured as a team. He said the dichotomy of enjoying tremendous individual success when the team has struggled so badly has taken a little of the shine off the fantastic season he has enjoyed, but he has remained positive.

"It's bittersweet," Allen said. "Just being able to accomplish some goals that I individually wanted to accomplish – getting to 100 (career) sacks and getting to another Pro Bowl – that kind of stuff was great. But having the kind of season (we had) was obviously the furthest thing from what I expected to happen – especially coming out of training camp. I thought we had a strong team and thought it was going to be an exciting, fun year and (we would be) going to the playoffs. The good part is that everything is glaring what we need to fix and I have faith in this organization that they'll fix the problems and we'll be a much better team next year."

While fixing the problems with the team as a whole will take place during the offseason, Allen still has an unlikely goal in his sights. At 18.5 sacks, he is four sacks short of the all-time record set by Michael Strahan 10 years ago. Allen is convinced if he has a big game, he can catch Strahan, but said his motivation is to win the sack title for this season as he tries to hold off Philadelphia's Jason Babin and DeMarcus Ware of Dallas – both of whom are just a half-sack behind him.

"It's absolutely within reach," Allen said of Strahan's record. "It's always possible. I've gotten four in a game before, so it's possible. My prayers this week, I said, ‘Lord, I'm going to do my part. If it's your will, please let it happen.' I'm going to go out and play as hard as I can. I'm trying to keep the lead for the league and we'll see what happens. Hopefully we can win the game and leave this place on a positive note."

Allen said he was a little surprised that he was the lone Viking selected to the Pro Bowl, because teammates Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and Chad Greenway have all had banner seasons making them worthy of inclusion, but, when you have one of the worst records in the league, nothing is assured when it comes to being selected to the Pro Bowl.

"There are a lot of guys playing good ball this year," Allen said. "I didn't know if I was a lock. We're what, 3-12? Yuck. You never know when your record is that bad. I didn't know what Adrian's circumstance would be. He's obviously a powerful name. Percy's had a heck of a year. I think if we're a winning team, Percy makes it in some form or the other. Greenway is top three in tackles. There are guys having good years, but, unfortunately, that record of 3-12 looms."

Allen joked that former teammate Brett Favre helped Strahan set the record by effectively giving him the last of his 22.5 sacks.

"Thanks, Brett," Allen said, rolling his eyes at the misadventures of the Silver Fox that gave Strahan the record.

The record-setting sack had some crying foul, including former record holder Mark Gastineau, who made a stink because he felt Favre intentionally rolled out Strahan's way and then laid down to give him the record. But, when asked if there should be an asterisk next to the record, Allen was quick to give a resounding "no."

"Never an asterisk," Allen said. "A sack is a sack is a sack. I don't care how you get it. I'm just hoping I get some of that. (Chicago QB Josh) McCown, feel free to trip and fall. I'll touch you. It won't even have to be painful."

For the rest of his Vikings teammates, their 2011 season will end Sunday against Chicago. Allen will have to wait a month to get his next chance to play, but will make the most of it sitting poolside – "tanned fat is better than white fat," he joked. But he added that his goals remain the same – winning a Super Bowl with the Vikings. Despite the awful record the team has posted this season, he believes that the return to prominence won't take long and, if he has anything to do with it, the team goal he is seeking will also be achieved.

"This thing is going to get turned around," Allen said. "I'm just excited to come back here and get back at it. I can't let '09 be the closest I get to a Super Bowl, so we've got work to do."


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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He said the dichotomy of enjoying tremendous individual success when the team has struggled so badly has taken a little of the shine off the fantastic season he has enjoyed, but he has remained positive. \"It's bittersweet,\" Allen said. \"Just being able to accomplish some goals that I individually wanted to accomplish – getting to 100 (career) sacks and getting to another Pro Bowl – that kind of stuff was great. But having the kind of season (we had) was obviously the furthest thing from what I expected to happen – especially coming out of training camp. I thought we had a strong team and thought it was going to be an exciting, fun year and (we would be) going to the playoffs. The good part is that everything is glaring what we need to fix and I have faith in this organization that they'll fix the problems and we'll be a much better team next year.\" While fixing the problems with the team as a whole will take place during the offseason, Allen still has an unlikely goal in his sights. At 18.5 sacks, he is four sacks short of the all-time record set by Michael Strahan 10 years ago. Allen is convinced if he has a big game, he can catch Strahan, but said his motivation is to win the sack title for this season as he tries to hold off Philadelphia's Jason Babin and DeMarcus Ware of Dallas – both of whom are just a half-sack behind him. \"It's absolutely within reach,\" Allen said of Strahan's record. \"It's always possible. I've gotten four in a game before, so it's possible. My prayers this week, I said, ‘Lord, I'm going to do my part. If it's your will, please let it happen.' I'm going to go out and play as hard as I can. I'm trying to keep the lead for the league and we'll see what happens. Hopefully we can win the game and leave this place on a positive note.\" Allen said he was a little surprised that he was the lone Viking selected to the Pro Bowl, because teammates Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and Chad Greenway have all had banner seasons making them worthy of inclusion, but, when you have one of the worst records in the league, nothing is assured when it comes to being selected to the Pro Bowl. \"There are a lot of guys playing good ball this year,\" Allen said. \"I didn't know if I was a lock. We're what, 3-12? Yuck. You never know when your record is that bad. I didn't know what Adrian's circumstance would be. He's obviously a powerful name. Percy's had a heck of a year. I think if we're a winning team, Percy makes it in some form or the other. Greenway is top three in tackles. There are guys having good years, but, unfortunately, that record of 3-12 looms.\" Allen joked that former teammate Brett Favre helped Strahan set the record by effectively giving him the last of his 22.5 sacks. \"Thanks, Brett,\" Allen said, rolling his eyes at the misadventures of the Silver Fox that gave Strahan the record. The record-setting sack had some crying foul, including former record holder Mark Gastineau, who made a stink because he felt Favre intentionally rolled out Strahan's way and then laid down to give him the record. But, when asked if there should be an asterisk next to the record, Allen was quick to give a resounding \"no.\" \"Never an asterisk,\" Allen said. \"A sack is a sack is a sack. I don't care how you get it. I'm just hoping I get some of that. (Chicago QB Josh) McCown, feel free to trip and fall. I'll touch you. It won't even have to be painful.\" For the rest of his Vikings teammates, their 2011 season will end Sunday against Chicago. 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