Sources: Vikings Willing to Spend for Allen

The Vikings made waves two years ago with the "poison-pill" offer sheet they executed with guard Steve Hutchinson, making him the highest paid guard in the league (at the time). This weekend, they may be willing to break the bank again with defensive end Jared Allen to avoid him visiting with Tampa Bay early next week.

The Vikings may make the most aggressive push for a player in their franchise's history Friday when they entertain Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen for a visit and a physical.

The parameters of a trade continue to change and escalate, if indications from league sources are correct. One source said that the Vikings are expected to get Allen in for visit and make him an offer he can't refuse – and more importantly one that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wouldn't consider matching. Allen is tentatively scheduled to visit Tampa Bay early next week … if he refuses what is expected to be a huge offer from the Vikings.

The Vikings declined comment on the situation, but the Chiefs acknowledged that they are in trade talks with other teams about Allen.

"Jared is not an exclusive franchise player," Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson said in a statement. "Therefore, based on the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, he has the right to visit and negotiate with other teams. However, for any trade to be completed, the Chiefs would need to reach an agreement on compensation."

And the Chiefs are expected to use that leverage in an attempt to escalate the compensation they would receive for Allen. The Vikings originally offered first- and third-round draft choices, according to a source, and the Chiefs were looking for even more for the 2007 league leader in sacks. The Vikings were said to be considering an additional high-round pick in next year's draft.

Now, according to a source, the Vikings don't want to risk letting Allen leaving Minnesota and might be willing to pay a steep price to both the Chiefs and Allen. Speculation revolves around the Vikings offering first- and second-round picks this year and considering an exchange of high-round picks next year.

That begs the question why the Vikings wouldn't simply sign Allen to an offer sheet that would require two first-round picks as compensation if the Chiefs declined to match the offer. The answer, according to a league source, is that they fear the Bucs would try to trump that offer or the Chiefs might simply match it and end any trade attempts. However, while the Bucs have more salary-cap space than the Vikings this year – Tampa Bay is believed to have more than $25 million in cap space while the Vikings have about $15 million – the Vikings can afford to part with more draft picks. They currently have nine picks for the 2008 draft – with extra picks in the third and sixth rounds – while the Bucs only have five. The Vikings also pick at No. 17 in the first round, three spots ahead of the Bucs in this year's draft, making Minnesota's first-round pick more valuable to the Chiefs. That would also be the case with a second-round pick this year.

So while both the Vikings and Bucs would both be able to make Allen the highest paid player in the league at his position – Dwight Freeney signed a six-year, $72 million contract in 2007 – the Vikings appear to have more to offer to the Chiefs in the form of draft picks.

It would be a high price to pay, but the Vikings want to avoid Allen leaving Minnesota and visiting the Bucs, who proved they are willing to pay (or overpay) for free agents with the six-year, $37.5 million deal they inked with center Jeff Faine in free agency.

With Allen, the Vikings would be getting a proven commodity that former teammates rave about.

"He did everything for us," former Chiefs defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson, now with Tampa Bay, told the Kansas City Star. "Look at the numbers he put up in sacks, forced fumbles, tackles, percentage of playing time. All of that makes him a key player to that defense. Jared was the energy on the defensive line. He brought so much energy to the game that it motivated everybody else. If you lose him, that energy level isn't the same.

"It will take a while for them to get somebody through the draft or through free-agency who can do the things for them that he can do. I guess they have a plan. Every team we played against was worried about Jared Allen. They knew what he could do."

And yet while playing only 14 games (he served a two-game suspension), he led the NFL with 15½ sacks in 2007. According to a league source, Allen wants nothing to do with signing a long-term deal in Kansas City anymore after his wishes to do that for some time resulted in little effort by the Chiefs to work something out. He appears to be excited about his Friday meeting with the Vikings.

"It's a situation that works out best for both sides," Allen told FoxSports.com. "I can go to a team that is competing for a championship right now. The Chiefs can get valuable draft picks to rebuild with."


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