Archive for the Jared Allen Category

Vikings-Rams: When “Balls Out” Is a Bad Strategy, and Other Observations

Minnesota gave the Rams plenty of chances to make this a game.

The Vikings gave up 400 yards of offense in St. Louis on Sunday. They gave up 27 first downs. They gave up four trips to the red zone.

But as the defense giveth, Jared Allen and the Williams Wall taketh away.

When the Rams drove to the Vikings’ 35 in the first quarter, Allen snatched up a Kevin Williams-induced fumble and hustled 52 yards for a 14-0 lead.

When the Rams forged their way to the Vikings’ one-yard line in the second quarter, Allen dove on a ball jarred loose by Pat Williams to stop the drive in its tracks.

Allen, the NFC’s leader in sacks after last week’s romp against the Packers, didn’t get to Kyle Boller or Marc Bulger. In fact, Minnesota recorded just one sack on the afternoon—and only managed that many because Boller’s fumble came behind the line of scrimmage.

From the get-go, St. Louis figured out the formula that eluded Green Bay: If you can keep your quarterback upright against the Vikings (admittedly easier said than done), you can gain ground through the air against the Minnesota secondary.

Against this defense, however, moving the ball and keeping the ball are two different things.

Boller engineered two first-and-goal situations that were snuffed out by fumbles. He put together a 15-play drive that ended with a pick in the end zone on 4th-and-6 from the Minnesota nine.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s three trips inside the opponent’s 10, with zero points to show for it.

By the time Bulger stepped in to go 7-of-7 for 88 yards and a touchdown, the Rams were simply saving face.

It’s difficult to say how Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will feel about his unit’s showing in this one. On one hand, he can’t be thrilled about letting one of the two or three worst offenses in the league march up and down the field all day.

The Vikings allowed 400 yards for just the fifth time in Frazier’s 37-game stint as coordinator. They gave up 424 to the Packers the week before. That’s a bad trend.

On the other, Frazier has to admire his team’s relentless nose for the football. One turnover might be a lucky break for a defense; four are a product of coaching and determination.  If the Vikings combine their ball-hawking ways with the stingy habits that held their first three opponents to an average of 259 yards, they’ll measure up as one of the elite defenses in the NFC.

Until then, Frazier should be grateful to have the kind of playmakers who can rip a big drive right out of an opponent’s hands.

In other news…

A Whole Flock of Ugly Ducklings

If misery loves company, the Rams must have made all kinds of friends on an afternoon that featured the widest selection of crap-tastic football in recent memory.

Six of Sunday’s 12 games were bona fide blowouts. The Jags managed just 10 first downs in a 41-doughnut massacre in Seattle. The Raiders collected just nine in a 44-7 beat-down in Jersey in which the Giants pulled Eli Manning before the end of the first half.  The Niners took a 35-10 deficit into intermission against the Falcons at home.

The Browns were held to nine first downs, 193 yards of offense, and two complete passes in 17 attempts—and won.

Even photo finishes in Kansas City, Denver, and Arizona couldn’t salvage the day. If the league had a quality control department, Roger Goodell would be busting some heads tomorrow morning.

As it is, all he can do is call a few of the offending clubs and kindly ask them not to stink so darn much.

Yo, Adrian

After two frustrating weeks in a row, Adrian Peterson got the chance to remind us why Brett Favre called him the best running back he’s ever played with.

The monster yardage still wasn’t there—and it won’t be until Peterson, who has broken just one run of longer than 15 yards in the past three weeks, starts hitting home runs again.

But AP found the end zone twice to tie for the NFL lead with seven scores on the year. In other words, Peterson has scored more touchdowns on the season than the Panthers, Browns, Raiders, or Rams. He’s scored as many or more points on the year as the last two teams on that list.

Peterson also sat out a couple of late-game series once the win was well in hand. That probably cost him a third TD on the day.

The 2,000-yard campaign AP covets may not be in the cards, but a scoring title is a possibility, and a second straight rushing crown isn’t far-fetched, either.


But Where Will We Get Our Super Bowl XLIII 1/2?

Everybody geared up for next week’s clash of the 5-0 Giants and 4-0 Saints in New Orleans?

Good, because we won’t get another showdown of that caliber for a while this season—if we get another one at all.

If the Saints come out on top, they won’t face another unbeaten opponent all year (although they may face a pair of winless ones when they travel to St. Louis in Week 10 and Tampa Bay in Week 11).

If the Giants win, they won’t have the chance to take down another perfect team until they come to Minnesota in Week 17. And I have a funny feeling neither the G-Men nor the Vikes will be sitting on 15-0 at that point in the year.

On the other side of the bracket, the Colts and Broncos, both 5-0 after today, will get a crack at each other in Week 14.

If that game turns out to be a battle of the 12-0 juggernauts, mine won’t be the only eyebrow raised.

This article is also featured on Purple Reign, a part of MTR Media. For more on the NFL, follow Marino on Twitter @MarinoEccher.

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Jared Allen Will Bring Even More to This Year’s Vikings Defense

They say defense win championships, and for the most part that is true. Look back at the past Super Bowl champions and you will see championship teams with at least a decent defense if not a legendary defense winning the Lombardi trophy.

The Vikings have that style of defense from past to present. Known back in the ’70s as the “Purple People Eaters” for their rough and rugged play style.

It was considered one of the best defenses in the NFL during the ’70s and of all time and for good reason too. This defense helped lead the Minnesota Vikings to the team’s four Super Bowls appearances. However, the Vikings were never able to bring home a Super Bowl to it’s fans.

A look back at the Minnesota Vikings’ Four Super Bowl appearances:

Super Bowl IV-January 11, 1970: Kansas City Chiefs-23  Minnesota Vikings-7

Super Bowl VIII- January 13, 1974: Miami Dolphins-24  Minnesota Vikings-7

Super Bowl IX- January 12, 1975: Pittsburgh Steelers-16 Minnesota Vikings-6

Super Bowl XI- January 9, 1977: Oakland Raiders-32 Minnesota Vikings-14

So now what does this have to do with Jared Allen?

Two years ago, the Minnesota Vikings traded several draft picks to the Kansas City Chiefs for defensive end Jared Allen. Thus hoping his outstanding success in Kansas City would follow him to Minnesota.

The Minnesota Vikings couldn’t have been any happier with Allen’s performance through out the 08′ season. Allen’s play paid enormous dividends to a Minnesota defense that is becoming wildly known around the NFL as one of the top defenses in the league.

Jared Allen’s 2008 stats

54 tackles-41 solo

14.5 Sacks

3 Forced Fumbles

2 Safeties

Jared Allen has become one of the best defensive ends in the NFL, making the Pro Bowl last year with the Minnesota Vikings. He is also becoming one of the key players on an already deadly Vikings defensive roster.

Jared Allen has given the Minnesota Vikings a star pass rusher, and some one who can create turnovers.

A new “Purple People Eaters” defense? Not quite yet.

However, Vikings fans can expect more fantastic plays from No. 69 this year. Expect to see even more of Jared Allen on the field, and more numbers piling up in the sack category.

To imagine the numbers Allen could have had in 2008, had he not gotten a separated shoulder mid-way through the season. That injury didn’t stop the powerful defensive end however, playing a huge chunk of the game at home against NFC North division rival the Green Bay Packers.

In that game against the Packers, the Vikings’ defensive end wrangled up 2 solo tackles, 1 Sack, and 1 Safety.

Jared Allen also helped the Minnesota Vikings claim their first NFC North title since 2001.

So what is next for Jared Allen?

Even more ferocity, and awesome plays on the field.

Jared Allen will be even more deadly, after one full year with the Minnesota Vikings and their defensive playbook. Minnesota Vikings will be able to afford to pass rush more with Allen on one end of the line.

Also helping him stop the run will be two of the league’s best defensive tackles and best run stoppers-Kevin and Pat Williams or the “Williams Wall” as fans like to call them.These two have become an unstoppable force that has given the Minnesota Vikings the title of Best Run Defense.

Also helping the talented Jared Allen on the other side of the line will be defensive end Ray Edwards who is projected to win the starter spot over Jayme Mitchell.

Also, giving the Vikings defense more power will be their young but talented line-backer corp. Leading the way will be middle line-backer E.J. Henderson who will be greeted with high optimism after he suffered a fractured toe that caused him the rest of the season.

Helping out with be the strong and speedy Chad Greenway and Ben Leber who are have become a solid middle area in the Vikings defense.

Overall, Jared Allen’s numbers can only get better, barring he doesn’t suffer any injuries during the season.

The Minnesota Vikings made a trade that has paid off right away, and is also giving offensive coordinators something else to think about and plan for come game time.

Jared Allen makes this Vikings defense one of the toughest in the NFC, let alone the NFL. Whether or not that this defense can lead the Vikings to a fifth and first Super Bowl win in franchise history is another question in itself.

In an NFC North division that is considered the “Black and Blue” division, nothing helps compete more then a strong, versatile defense capable of forcing turnovers.

Like looked at before, Jared Allen comes off his first season as a Viking, and by the looks of it, his play style won’t be letting up any time soon.

Which just furthers the argument that this year will be an even more productive year for Jared Allen and the Minnesota Vikings defense.

Thus giving the Minnesota Vikings one of the best defenses in the NFL and another superior defense to put in Vikings history.

Jared Allen will be even more explosive and ferocious in 2009, giving him another shot at the NFC Defensive Player of the Year award and his team a better shot at defending their NFC North crown.

Allen and the Vikings biggest accomplishment however, will be to bring home a Super Bowl trophy to Minnesota.