Few venues are louder and more intense than CenturyLink Field, where the fans are raucous and as loud as any stadium in the country. For opposing teams, it can be a difficult environment to play in.
For Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, it's his kind of place. Allen, who is known for encouraging Metrodome fans to bring on the noise, said he looks forward to games like this because it gets the adrenaline going to have the fans into the action and making it hard to hear – and beats the alternative.
"It makes it fun," Allen said. "No offense to Jacksonville or any teams like that, but you go down there and the crowd is empty. It feels like fans are 100 yards away. And you know, you go to Seattle and it's loud. Trash talking, it's the way it's supposed to be. Those environments are fun to play in, especially if you can get a win there, it makes it that much sweeter."
Allen said the influence of the fans is a little overplayed, saying that it isn't a "Monica Seles situation." Seles, one of the top tennis players in the world 20 years ago, was stabbed by a crazed fan at a tournament in Germany. Allen quipped that the fans won't be coming onto the field, they'll simply be making noise in the stands.
"They talk about tough environments to play in, it's just loud," Allen said. "It feels like fans are going to come onto the field and attack you. People talk about, ‘Oh, it's a crazy environment,' but it's just loud. It's what fans are supposed to do. It makes it fun."
The best way to neutralize a crowd is to get the lead. When the home team is behind, it tends to quiet down the loudest fans. Whether the Vikings can accomplish that will play itself out Sunday, but, if the fans are in full throat, they will have a fan of their own in Allen.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.