Vikings DE friendship now spans two teams

For years, Jared Allen was a mentor and friend to Brian Robison and Everson Griffen. Now they are division rivals but still remain friends.

Sunday in Chicago on Soldier Field will mark the first time that Everson Griffen and Brian Robison will meet up with their former teammate Jared Allen since he left in the offseason to go play for the Bears. They were close and they still all just want the others to succeed.

Griffen even noted that Allen mentored him, and when he was getting upset about his playing time it would be Allen talking him down off the ledge, telling him to be patient and that his time would come.

“It’s not necessarily what I wanted to hear the first three years,” said Griffen. “I just learned how to be patient and stayed humble and kept on working on my craft. I knew that whenever I got my time to go out there and do it full-time, this is what I imagined what I’d be doing.

“He was a mentor to me while he was here and he taught me a lot of things, and I love the guy. He’s not just a great player, he’s a great person too.”

Allen – although he said he tried to give Griffen some advice – doesn’t think he really did much to help. He thinks that Griffen is one of the most physically gifted people he has ever seen, if not the most gifted.

“Physically I don’t know if there’s a man – maybe (Julius) Peppers is a physical specimen like him,” Allen said. “And, I mean, Everson is one of the most gifted people I have ever seen. I would tell him that once he got the mental part of the game down that he could be an All-Pro.”

These days, Griffen, in his first year as a full-time starter in replacing Allen, is first in the NFL among defensive ends with nine sacks. Robison has 2.5 and Allen has 1.5.

Another player that Allen had a big impact on in Minnesota was Robison. The two of them both played hard, and even sort of looked alike with the long hair flowing out the back of the helmets – Robison won that contest – and wearing the opposite jersey numbers in 96 and 69.

Robison says he is excited to see his old friend when the Vikings travel down to Chicago, but it is going to be weird for him to see Allen wearing the Bears’ dark blue instead of the Vikings’ purple.

“It’ll be different seeing him in a different uniform in person,” Robison said. “But it’ll be interesting to watch him when we’re on the sidelines and the offense is out there. Hopefully he doesn’t have a big day against us, but it will definitely be good to see him after the game for sure.”

Even though these friends always want the other to succeed, they both want their teams to win.

Allen said he will feel a little nostalgia, but ultimately he has not thought a lot about what it is going to be like to play his former team, but he knows it should be enjoyable.

“I think it’s going to be a fun game,” Allen said. “It’s always fun when you get to play against your friends – a lot of guys on the team are still there – so I’m excited to compete against my old brethren.”

No matter how the game turns out, the old friends likely will meet up after the game, catch up and reminisce a little bit with one another.

“I’ll probably text him sometime this week and I’m sure we’ll talk to him after the game,” said Robison. “It’ll be great to see the guy, and it’s going to be fun to watch each other as we go in this game.”

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