Jared Allen (Jon Dahlin/Viking Update)
Jared Allen may be leading the league in sacks, but he said he doesn’t really think about the NFL single-season record he is on pace to break. Plus, he talked about his eye injury, Percy Harvin gets his ribs checked out, Kevin Williams is back to form and more.
Jared Allen is leading the NFL with 8.5 sacks through five games and on pace to have 27 sacks, but with his team struggling to make something of the season with a 1-4 record, he isn’t thinking much about going after the NFL single-season sack record of 22.5.
“Honestly, that’s probably the furthest thing from my mind,” Allen said Thursday. “I think as a player, that’s something you want to obtain. Really, the goal right now is just trying to get wins. We got one. Now we need to put another one together. I just try to go out there and have fun that week and take it for what it is and go out and try to help my team win. At the end of the year, it’ll work itself out one way or the other, but I’ve got a long way to go.”
With a sack Sunday against the Chicago Bears – they rank 29th in the league in sacks per pass play – Allen would extend his consecutive-game sack streak to eight and tie the Vikings record currently held by Jim Marshall (1969) and Carl Eller (1975-76). The Bears have given up 18 sacks in five games while the Vikings have 16 sacks so far this year.
Despite being the NFL sacks leader since 2004 (with 89.5), Allen said he doesn’t enter the season with a set number in mind.
“I think you limit yourself if you put a number on something. I’m going to take as many as they give me. Hell, if they give me 30, I’ll take it. That’s always been my motto,” he said. “I don’t ever try to set a number, I just try to make sure I can handle what I can handle, and that’s being in the best shape of my life I can be in, making sure my mental preparation is where it’s at, and then come Sunday I can put my best foot forward.”
Allen isn’t alone among Vikings in the top-10 list of sacks so far this season. His counterpart at left defensive end, Brian Robison, has 4.5, placing him ninth in the NFL right now.
“Brian, he has talent. I think the biggest challenge for him is we’ve been using him as a guy who came in on third downs and could rush from inside or out. I think he’s doing well. He’s really owning that position and he works hard,” Allen said. “That’s the biggest thing. If you work hard and you put the effort in, you’ll see the results. The expectations we had, I think he’s meeting them.”
But, of course, Allen isn’t about to let Robison get the upper hand.
“My competition is really with myself. I just try to do the best I can,” Allen said. “I ain’t letting no first-time starter beat me.”
EYE IS OK
Allen says he can see clearly now after being poked in the eye by Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb. Allen’s right eye is still red, but he was joking about the incident on Thursday.
“I learned something about myself: If I get poked in the eye, I will give up. We’re going to have to work on that, I guess. It was a little disappointing. I had the sack in my arms, he poked me in the eye – obviously not on purpose – he tried to stiff-arm me off and I let go. That was the end for me.”
Allen said he might have to wear a visor for the Sunday night game against Chicago – the Vikings attached one to his helmet after he was poked during the Cardinals game – but he’s hoping he doesn’t have to.
Receiver Percy Harvin missed Thursday’s afternoon practice to get his sore ribs evaluated. Harvin initially hurt his ribs in the first week of training camp and has played through the pain, but he took another hit on them during Sunday’s game and was limited in Wednesday’s practice.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Harvin “should be fine” and there was no fracture found.
“We’ll do something from a protection standpoint. It’s something he had earlier in the year and he got hit there again the other day. We’ll have to do something for protection,” Frazier said.
“His style of play is not going to change. He is a violent runner when he has the ball and he’s the same way when he tries to run routes. He’s running everything full speed, so we have to watch some of his reps, like we’ve always tried to do and also try to protect him physically by doing something with the ribs.”
Harvin attended the morning walk-through and meetings before going to get checked out.
KEVIN WILLIAMS ON THE REBOUND
Frazier said he has been encouraged by what he’s seen from Kevin Williams lately after the defensive tackle was suspended for the first two games and has been dealing with plantar fasciitis since the preseason.
“From what I saw this past Sunday. He is just about the Kevin we expected to see. I really feel like he’s going to have a real good game on Sunday,” Frazier said. “He’s about there now from what I saw this past Sunday.”
Frazier said Williams’ foot has been feeling better.
“No problems. Doesn’t complain about it,” Frazier said. “He doesn’t even talk about it anymore, so he’s past it.”
CB Antoine Winfield also missed practice Thursday as he deals with continued stiffness in his neck. Frazier said they are hoping to have Winfield get some work on Friday. Winfield and Harvin were the only two Vikings that didn’t participate.
LB E.J. Henderson (knee) and LB Kenny Onatolu (hamstring) were limited. DE Jared Allen (eye) and S Husain Abdullah (pelvis) were full participants.
Vikings ownership is hoping to meet with Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders early next week to solve the remaining issues surrounding the proposed Vikings stadium in Arden Hills. The biggest issue is figuring out how the state’s $300 million commitment will be funded, but the Vikings cleared significant hurdles this week when the Ramsey County Charter Commission opted not to put the county’s funding mechanism (a half-percent sales tax) to a referendum and the Met Council report ordered by Dayton didn’t reveal any big surprises.
What’s different about Jared Allen this year versus last year, when he had one sack through seven games? “This year from last year, it’s just having the best attitude I can possibly have. Having a positive attitude on game day is huge, at least for my success it is,” he said. “If you buy into the negativity that can go around or you start thinking we’re losing or here we go or if we blew another halftime lead, that’s just going to lessen your play. That’s not obviously what this organization needs. We need guys out there trying to win every snap.”
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.