Sunday slant: Jared Allen takes on history

Jared Allen didn't get the single-season sack record or the AP's Defensive Player of the Year, but over his Vikings and NFL career, he has been putting up Hall of Fame-worthy numbers. The Vikings' big "risk" on him just four years ago is receiving a big return on investment, as the numbers show.

How do you measure the worth of a player?

Front offices, coaches, agents and players all have differing opinions, and each of their views are shaped by different experiences. Front offices ultimately determine the dollar value of the player, coaches see much more – good and bad – through the daily interaction, agents love to work the comparative stats that figure in their client's favor and players' opinions are formed through a variety of interactions, from game day to practice to locker-room interactions.

Jared Allen seems to have won them all over.

The Vikings took one of the biggest gambles in a decade of trades and free agency when they went on their own relentless pursuit after Allen before he ever hit the open market. When the Vikings got wind of the growing tensions between Allen and former Kansas City Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson, they swooped in to take advantage of the situation and take a chance on a player that Peterson had labeled at-risk after two arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol. The Vikings researched Allen until they felt comfortable he was ready to leave his past problems behind.

The result? Despite a heavy investment in draft picks (a first- and two third-rounders) and money (six years, roughly $74 million), there is little doubt the Vikings' big risk has paid of richly. You already know about how close Allen came to breaking the NFL's all-time single-season sack record, but he has obviously been much more than a one-season flash in the Purple pan, as demonstrated by some of the statistics compiled by statistician Scott Grams in the upcoming issue of Viking Update.

By the end of the 2012 season, Allen could be on the cusp of the top-10 career NFL sackmasters after only nine seasons in the league. All-time leader Bruce Smith, who had 200 sacks, played 19 seasons to reach that mark. After eight seasons, Allen has 105 sacks and is only getting better, even during troubled, losing times in Minnesota when quarterbacks haven't been forced to open up the passing game with many comeback attempts.

Allen has had only four seasons in Minnesota, but already he has 62 sacks here, close to half of the 130 franchise leader Carl Eller produced during his 15 seasons purple. In two more seasons, Allen could enter the top-five and surpass new Hall of Famer Chris Doleman's 96.5. Allen's 62 sacks in four seasons in Minnesota is even more impressive when viewed at this way: Alan Page had 39 sacks in his first four seasons with the Vikings, 1967-70, which was the previous franchise best until Allen blew it out of the water.

How about average sacks per game? Allen easily leads the Vikings' list there, averaging an incredible 0.97 sacks per game with the franchise – 62 sacks in 64 games played. Next on the list? Keith Millard, who averaged .71 sacks per game (53 in 75). Hall of Famers Page (.68), John Randle (.65), Carl Eller (.62) and now Doleman (.63) all reside well below Allen on the accomplished list of Minnesota sackers of the past.

For his combined Chiefs and Vikings career, Allen has averaged .84 sacks per game, third in the NFL, behind only DeMarcus Ware (.89) and Reggie White (.85). That's further proof that, while Allen's move to Minnesota helped the Vikings, it also helped him, as his production has increased from Pro Bowl-worthy to Hall of Fame-worthy.

But before anyone bemoans the fact that Michael Strahan's single-season NFL record of 22.5 sacks came from what can only be described as a "laydown" from then-Packer Brett Favre in the final game of the 2001 season, other NFL alumni could be complaining they aren't officially acknowledged, either. Before sacks were officially recognized as an NFL statistic, Dallas' Harvey Martin (1977) and Detroit's Al Baker (1978) each had 23-sack seasons. Additionally, in the strike season of 1987, then-Eagle Reggie White had an unbelievable 21 sacks in 12 games. He almost certainly would have put the record out of Allen's reach if he had a full head-slapping season.

Allen doesn't have the NFL single-season record attached to his name – at least not yet – but his value to the Vikings can't be understated. In 2011, he became a family man off the field and a havoc-wreaking machine on the field.

So, how do you measure Allen's worth? Whether you want to question what he's done lately or look at what he's done for the Vikings since he arrived in 2008, Allen has provided a deep return on investment. The 2008 trade that was once considered a calculated gamble now has to be considered an unvarnished success.


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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When the Vikings got wind of the growing tensions between Allen and former Kansas City Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson, they swooped in to take advantage of the situation and take a chance on a player that Peterson had labeled at-risk after two arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol. The Vikings researched Allen until they felt comfortable he was ready to leave his past problems behind. The result? Despite a heavy investment in draft picks (a first- and two third-rounders) and money (six years, roughly $74 million), there is little doubt the Vikings' big risk has paid of richly. You already know about how close Allen came to breaking the NFL's all-time single-season sack record, but he has obviously been much more than a one-season flash in the Purple pan, as demonstrated by some of the statistics compiled by statistician Scott Grams in the upcoming issue of . By the end of the 2012 season, Allen could be on the cusp of the top-10 career NFL sackmasters after only nine seasons in the league. All-time leader Bruce Smith, who had 200 sacks, played 19 seasons to reach that mark. After eight seasons, Allen has 105 sacks and is only getting better, even during troubled, losing times in Minnesota when quarterbacks haven't been forced to open up the passing game with many comeback attempts. Allen has had only four seasons in Minnesota, but already he has 62 sacks here, close to half of the 130 franchise leader Carl Eller produced during his 15 seasons purple. In two more seasons, Allen could enter the top-five and surpass new Hall of Famer Chris Doleman's 96.5. Allen's 62 sacks in four seasons in Minnesota is even more impressive when viewed at this way: Alan Page had 39 sacks in his first four seasons with the Vikings, 1967-70, which was the previous franchise best until Allen blew it out of the water. How about average sacks per game? Allen easily leads the Vikings' list there, averaging an incredible 0.97 sacks per game with the franchise – 62 sacks in 64 games played. Next on the list? Keith Millard, who averaged .71 sacks per game (53 in 75). Hall of Famers Page (.68), John Randle (.65), Carl Eller (.62) and now Doleman (.63) all reside well below Allen on the accomplished list of Minnesota sackers of the past. For his combined Chiefs and Vikings career, Allen has averaged .84 sacks per game, third in the NFL, behind only DeMarcus Ware (.89) and Reggie White (.85). That's further proof that, while Allen's move to Minnesota helped the Vikings, it also helped him, as his production has increased from Pro Bowl-worthy to Hall of Fame-worthy. But before anyone bemoans the fact that Michael Strahan's single-season NFL record of 22.5 sacks came from what can only be described as a \"laydown\" from then-Packer Brett Favre in the final game of the 2001 season, other NFL alumni could be complaining they aren't officially acknowledged, either. Before sacks were officially recognized as an NFL statistic, Dallas' Harvey Martin (1977) and Detroit's Al Baker (1978) each had 23-sack seasons. Additionally, in the strike season of 1987, then-Eagle Reggie White had an unbelievable 21 sacks in 12 games. He almost certainly would have put the record out of Allen's reach if he had a full head-slapping season. Allen doesn't have the NFL single-season record attached to his name – at least not yet – but his value to the Vikings can't be understated. In 2011, he became a family man off the field and a havoc-wreaking machine on the field. So, how do you measure Allen's worth? 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