Allen's busy offseason continues

Jared Allen continued his busy offseason with a visit to his alma mater over the weekend and answered questions on a variety of topics – his knee injury, an upcoming MTV appearance, playing for the Vikings, what he's been up to the last few months, and putting his alcohol issues in the past.

Looking for a Pro Bowl defensive end the weekend before the NFL draft? Where would you look? After about 1,000 guesses, you would be right if you said Pocatello, Idaho.

The Vikings' Jared Allen returned to his alma mater over the weekend to watch the Idaho State spring game. One of the reasons he was there was to hand out an award named in his honor at the university. He presented Ryan Phipps with the 2008 Jared Allen Defensive Player of the Year Award and, according to reports, spent the entire game in the stands donning a white cowboy hat and his trademark mullet – signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans.

He also gave an interview to internet blogger Kellis Robinett of the website During the interview, Allen caught fans up on what he's been up to since the end of the season. Among the notable comings and goings is that Allen will be featured on the TV show "MTV Cribs" April 28. With the usual Allen sense of humor, he said that the vignette on him will open with a trailer that he passes off as his house and it will lead into his real home, which is markedly better than a double-wide.

Allen said he will always love Kansas City, but added that his love for Minnesota includes the team's owner.

"As an organization, Minnesota is phenomenal," Allen said. "Our owner, Zygi Wilf, is the best owner in the world. He's always there for us. He comes out and catches punts, he's invested himself in us. He gets so excited when we win and so sad when we lose."

He added that he thinks the best is yet to come for him, the Vikings and their fans.

"It was so awesome to bring a title back to Minnesota this year," Allen said. "We won the NFC North Division. Unfortunately, we lost in the playoffs. But our team is stacked, and we're only getting better. That's the real difference. In Kansas City, we had a really good team for something like four years, but they never tried to get any better. We lost pieces and never tried to replace them. It was like they thought we were going to stay good forever. In Minnesota they go out every year looking for new players to make sure we're getting better."

Allen also admitted that not only did he play the second half of the season with a serious shoulder sprain, but a serious knee injury as well. Fans will remember the low block he took from Gosder Cherilus of the Detroit Lions, but Allen said the injury resulted in a "40 percent tear of my MCL."

Allen was also asked about his history of alcohol issues that got him suspended by the league for the first two games in 2007. Allen said he went through the league's two-year program and can drink if he chooses to, but doesn't fall into the same pitfalls that got him in trouble in the first place. When asked if he was "staying strong" (as in not drinking at all), Allen said, "For the most part" – but added that he wasn't a raging drunk as he felt he was portrayed by members of the Chiefs organization.

"It wasn't that hard," Allen said of curtailing his drinking. "It's not even a lifestyle. People assume because you get DUIs you're out drinking every night. But we were only out a few nights a week. But football is the most important thing. I realized that and figured out that it was time to grow up. That's what it's all about."

Allen said he still enjoys doing unique things in the offseason, which have ranged from skydiving to hunting bear and wild boar. This offseason, he not only visited our U.S. troops in Iraq, but followed that up with a safari in Africa as well as visits to South Africa and Botswana.

While Allen didn't stay long in Idaho, he said it was a chance to re-connect with old teammates and friends and personally hand out the award named in his honor by the school, which he said touches his heart.

"It's actually pretty cool," Allen said of the annual award. "I started playing here and it's pretty neat to get an award named after you. It shows the appreciation people have for you and justifies all the hard work you've done. In the end, it's kind of like a big thank you. Idaho State helped me to be where I'm at, so I'm more than happy to come back and give away an award."

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