There aren't too many Vikings fans out there who want to see Jared Allen, soon to be a free agent, wearing a different color uniform next season. There is little indication that Allen himself wants to be somewhere else next year. Allen’s agent Ken Harris has met with Vikings brass and the official story is that both sides want the relationship to continue.
That said, after all the nice talk is done, both sides have hard decisions to make in the near future. The Vikings must decide how much they want to give a 32 year old defensive end who has recorded more sacks in the past ten years than any other player in the league. Although statically last season wasn’t one of Allen’s best having only 11.5 sacks, he was still one of the bright spots on a defense that ranked 31st overall.
The Vikings need to get younger on the defensive line. Kevin Williams is also a free agent to be, and it appears likely that he will be gone. As much as the Vikings say they want Allen back, it would be foolish to use the franchise tag on him. If franchised, Allen’s cap number for next season would be in excess of $20 million.
Harris has stated the Allen wants to stay a Viking, but he also said that number 69 wants to win. New coach Mike Zimmer has some talent in place, but it’s safe to say that the Vikings will be in rebuilding mode for the next couple of years. Allen has never been a free agent in his career. He may want to test the F/A waters considering that there were reports prior to the trade deadline that both the Seahawks and Broncos were interested in him.
The bottom line is that Allen is not going to be getting paychecks the size that he is used to next season, and he has one last chance to make some money before his career becomes hunting wild boars with only a knife. He’ll have to give a discount to the Vikings if he wants to keep living in Minnesota. He also knows that taking less money to try and play in a Super Bowl will come with no guarantees.
Given that there is a new regime in Minnesota under Zimmer, who has a defensive background and may want to bring in his own guys, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
By Cory Cason (Twitter: @cory_cason)