Jared Allen (Brace Hemmelgarn/US Presswire)
Jared Allen has spent a productive eight years in the NFL rushing the quarterback from the right side of the defensive line and, despite a few tries from the left on Sunday, the Vikings have no plans to move him around on the defensive line.
Jared Allen’s snaps on the right side of the defensive line could be over.
Allen, who has been playing right defensive end for the Vikings since he joined the team in 2008, moved to the left side of the line for a few snaps Sunday against the 49ers when he started experiencing neck pain and could look inside from his usual spot.
Asked about the possibility of moving Allen around in the future, even when he’s healthy, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier declined to give a definitive answer on Wednesday.
“I’m almost reluctant to answer that one, just because I would like for the opposing team to say, ‘Oh, they’re moving Jared Allen around. We can’t just block him on the left or the right,’” Frazier said. “That’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to leave it open ended. Speculate.”
Defensive coordinator Alan Williams shot down that possibility, however, when he was asked about the possibility on Thursday.
“Nope. I think guys should do what they do best. He had been on the right side and that’s where he rushes from,” Williams said. “Let the left tackle handle our best guy from the left side. I think you do what you do and don’t try to outsmart yourself and out-trick yourself. Let the other team handle what you do best.”
Williams said he was happy that the veteran players talked about Allen’s issues with the neck injury on the sidelines and came to him with a solution after Allen said he couldn’t look inside from his normal spot on the right side of the defensive line.
“Some of the other players have gone left and right and their stances weren’t affected. It just worked out we had some older vets that can problem-solve on the sideline and that’s a good thing,” Williams said. “They can come to you with a problem and an answer. That’s what they did.”
Allen said Sunday he hurt the neck when he was trying to pull San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith to the ground by his feet in the second quarter, but he didn’t start playing on the left side until the fourth quarter. He took only a few snaps from that side before moving back to the right side.
He was coming off the right side when he effectively ended the game with his first sack of the season after leading the NFL with 22 sacks last year.
“I was pissed he didn’t fall when I hit him in the gut,” he said of his near sack in the second quarter. “I guess I’ve just got to start jumping on their backs. It’s frustrating because I haven’t missed this many sacks hitting guys ever. I don’t think there was one last year I missed when I had a guy in my arms.”
Williams said Allen knows how it usually works when it comes to sacks. He’s gone through downturns in the statistic before and figures the hits will turn into sacks more regularly in the near future.
“He said, ‘Coach, I’ve been around long enough to know that it comes in waves, it comes in bunches. I was happy for him on the sidelines,” Williams said. “I asked him if it felt better that it did come and he assured me a second time that, coach, I know it comes in bunches and I’m not worried about it.”
QB Christian Ponder was added to the Vikings' injury report with a neck injury. He was limited in Thursday's practice.
Erin Henderson (concussion), Mistral Raymond (ankle) and Andrew Sendejo (ankle) didn't participate. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he is still holding out hope Henderson can clear his post-concussion test, practice Friday and play Sunday.
TE Kyle Rudolph returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis after sitting on Wednesday with a thigh injury.
Also limited for the Vikings were DE Jared Allen (neck) and DE D'Aundre Reed (calf).
S Mistral Raymond wasn’t at practice and hasn’t been since suffering his ankle injury Sunday that is expected to keep him out three to five weeks.
For the Lions, S Louis Delmas (knee), LB Travis Lewis (quad) and DT Corey Williams (knee) didn't practice.
TE Tony Scheffler (calf), QB Matthew Stafford (hip), LB Justin Durant (back), DE Lawrence Jackson (calf), RB Mikel Leshoure (groin), G Rob Sims (knee) and S Amari Spievey (groin) were limited. Stafford didn't participate Wednesday but is expected to play. Spievey was added to the injury report Thursday.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame released its list of nominees for the Class of 2013. Among the 89 player on the list were former Vikings Cris Carter, Joey Browner, Gary Anderson, Herschel Walker, Randall Cunningham and Roger Craig.
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.