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When we look back to try and dissect the 2011 season to try and figure out what went wrong, sparse will be the finger pointed at Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.

Currently on pace to break the single season sack record, Allen was named October’s defensive player of the month.  He is the first Vikings player to win one of the monthly awards since Darren Sharper did it in 2005.

Through eight games Allen has 34 tackles, 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception, and four deflected passes.

If his production can be matched during the second half of this season then I may be typing a headline naming Allen as the defensive player of the year.

The Vikings are currently negotiating a contract extension with defensive end Everson Griffen and recently completed a four-year contract extension with defensive end Brian Robison.

What about All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen?

There are currently no contract talks between the team and Allen’s camp.

It is apparent here that Minnesota is attempting to lock two of its younger pass rushers. Robison, 30, received a four-year deal worth a reported $22.4 million. Griffen, 25,  recently rejected a contract offer by the team, but that is likely just a part of the contract negotiation process.

Allen, 31, isn’t much older than Robison, but would likely seek a contract much more lucrative to Robison’s $5.6 million per year average. Allen is currently earning $14.3 million for the 2013-14 season.

The door is not completely shut on Allen returning, but the writing is on the wall.

Jared Allen couldn’t possibly mean more to this organization than he did at the end of the 2011 season, right?

Wrong.

The Vikings say they are excited about using Allen not only as a veteran mentor, but as the fiercest of practice dummies, with hopes that Matt Kalil will get better quicker by having to face Allen every day in practice.

“One of the good things about Matt coming to our team is he’ll get a chance to face arguably the best defensive end in the National Football League day in and day out in practice,” Leslie Frazier said on Thursday. “That’s going to be a great part of his prep in getting him prepared for what he’s going to see on Sunday afternoons.”

Rick Spielman also acknowledged that Allen’s presence on the practice field should only make Kalil better prepared, and Kalil himself sounds ready for the task.

“The competitor I am, I know that Jared will help make me a great player. Especially the division the Vikings are in – with the Chicago Bears and going against Julius Peppers plus my old teammate, Clay Matthews, going against him in Green Bay. It’s definitely a league of great pass rushers and great defensive ends. So it’s going to be good going against the greatest defensive end in the NFL in Jared Allen. I’m very excited for that.”

A number of weeks ago, Brett and I had a little side discussion about the possibility of the Vikings trading Jared Allen this offseason.  We were even thinking about doing a little back-and-forth feature at the time, as we knew it was inevitable that some other media outlet would bring up this possibility, but we never quite managed to get around to it.

Now that I am back from a long work week, however, I took some time to review all the comments from the last few days and one jumped out to me.

In the comment, a reader says that he heard on a local radio station that a rumor is making the rounds that the Vikings are possibly (could be, maybe, potentially, maybe) considering entertaining offers for their stud right end.

Earlier this offseason, Rick Spielman went out of his way to say that Adrian Peterson was the only player that was off the table in terms of an early departure, which makes sense considering the blockbuster deal they just signed him to.  He easily could have included Jared Allen in that statement, but didn’t.

So, it makes sense that the Vikings won’t trade Peterson, but would an Allen trade make sense?

First, let’s take a look at some possible reasons to consider it an option:

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Jared Allen can’t be happy with the Vikings record so far in 2011, despite having a great first half of the season personally and being on track to break the single season sack record.

Regardless, I can tell you that Jared Allen has a gazillion reasons to be happy today and every day for the rest of his life.

Amy, Jared’s wife, gave birth to a baby girl on Thursday.  I think I speak on behalf of everyone here in congratulating Allen.  Fatherhood is a wonderful thing!

Allen missed practice, understandably, along with Visanthe Shiancoe (foot), Lorenzo Booker (concussion), and Anthony Herrera (knee).  Adrian Peterson (ankle), Percy Harvin (ribs), Antoine Winfield (neck), Remi Ayodele (ankle), E.J. Henderson (knee), and Brian Robison (shoulder) were all limited.

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