The NFL has declared that Joe Looney's hit on Kevin Williams' knee was "a legal play," according to a league spokesman.
That declaration isn't stopping Jared Allen, among other Vikings, from sounding off on that decision.
"If a defensive player would have hit an offensive linemen in the knee like that on an interception, they're going to call it, right? So just because he wasn't going back toward his end zone it's not the peel-back rule, but the intent was to take his knee out," Allen said. "He could have hit him right in the chest. It would have been no problem and no one would have said anything. Kevin wouldn't have gotten hurt on that. That happens, but when you intentionally duck and put your helmet or put your shoulder pad into a guy's knee, in my place there's no place for that."
The play happened during the third quarter of Sunday night's game between the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers. While 49ers running back LaMichael James was being stopped in the backfield for a 7-yard loss, Kevin Williams, standing close to 10 yards away from the play, was moving to his right and 49ers offensive lineman Joe Looney dove at Williams' right knee.
The league put an emphasis on peel-back blocks this year, making them illegal between the offensive tackles, too, but the NFL didn't consider Looney's hit a peel-back block.
"My problem with this play is its intent. He ducked down to hit him in the knee. It was intent to hit him in the knee. If the league can't see that, they can fine me for this. It was absurd," Allen said.
"He blatantly ducks into his knee. He could have hit Kevin clean in the chest and we would have been sitting here making fun of Kevin for getting blindsided. Now you're taking a guy in the knee and you're watching his knee completely fold back. For me, I've got problems with that."
The NFL's new emphasis on peel-back blocks was demonstrated to coaches, players and media this summer.
"Illegal peel-back blocks are dangerous and have no part in our game," the NFL said in a video on rules changes.
But the NFL's ruling that Looney's block on Williams was legal doesn't sit well with Allen.
"I'm just saying be consistent. How is he not a defenseless player? You go back and look at that play and you tell me he's not a defenseless player," Allen said. "(Williams) has no idea that guy is there and that dude could have taken him up high. He could have hit him right in the chest and he chose to duck down and hit him in his knee. Needless to say, I'm a little upset about it and I would be upset even if it wasn't my teammate. If you get hurt in the course of the game and it's a block – people get blindsided, it happens, trying to make a play. But to intentionally take someone's knee out, it's just dirty."
Allen has had disagreements with the league's assessment on questionable blocks before.
In November, Allen was fined $21,000 for a hit on Chicago Bears guard Lance Louis on Sunday.
In that case, Allen hit Louis in the left knee during an interception return by Antoine Winfield. Louis ended up with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, ending his season. His Bears teammates and coaches reacted similarly to Allen's reaction Tuesday.
"They said I launched into him. They said it's a case where we were on an interception, I was blocking a guy, but I didn't go in there with an intent to take his knee out," Allen said about his play against the Bears. "Now imagine if I would have knifed his knee, the recourse on that. I got fined $25,000 or something like. I got fined something hefty because they said I launched and they said he was a defenseless. I took it, but I had no ill intent."
Looney also to CSN Bay Area that he didn't intend to injure Williams, who ended up with a hyperextended knee, but several Vikings weren't buying that explanation.
"I have a problem with when we talk about player safety in this league and we have a clear case of a guy intentionally trying to hurt a guy and we do nothing about it and we pat him on the back and say it's OK," Allen said.
"It had no bearing on the play. We talk about player safety. You talk about wanting to protect us. How is Kevin not a defenseless player? For me, that's absurd. It's absolutely absurd. It's just not what you do."
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.
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