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[NOTE FROM ADAM:  I’m all about encouraging new, young writers to take that leap of faith and put their work out there for everyone to see.  It can be an intimidating step to talk, as the internet isn’t always the nicest of places, but there is no better way to gain experience and to improve as a writer than to just do it.  Please join me in welcoming the newest Vikings voice:  Chris Serri.  Chris recently started a Twitter account for Vikings fans to interact with (@MN_VikingsFans) and we got to talking about him potentially contributing to VT.  Enjoy his first post!]

By Chris Serri

Earlier this morning, the public was informed that Jared Allen,  the former fan-favorite defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings, was signed by the Chicaco Bears to a four-year deal, per the team’s official Twitter account. Prior to signing with the Bears, he had also visited with the Seahawks and the Cowboys. The overwhelming majority of Vikings fans, myself included, will dearly miss Jared Allen, as he was one of the faces of our franchise, and definitely was the personality of the team. Moreover, the fact that he is staying in the NFC North and playing for a rival of the Vikings will obviously sting. Two or three years ago, most fans could never have pictured Jared Allen going on to play for another team.

The question remains, however, whether or not we as fans should show anger or  resentment towards Allen. This situation is somewhat similar to the Greg Jennings’ departure from the Packers a year ago. Jennings wanted more money than the Packers were willing to offer, so he signed with the Vikings, the only other team to show significant interest in him. The situation is not completely similar though, as it was already widely assumed by most fans that he would be gone this season. The fact of the matter is that Jared Allen was not getting younger, and because of this, he wanted to move on and finish his carrer playing for a “contender.” Whether or not the Bears are truly contenders is debatable, however, it is important to realize that the Vikings have a young talented pass rusher in Everson Griffen with tremendous athletic ability, and resigning him made the decision to part ways with Allen much easier. Had we not been able to resign Griffen, we may have made a greater push to retain Allen.

At the end of the day, it was simply time for both sides to move on. The Vikings went into the offseason wanting to get younger, and there was simply no reason to pay a hefty ammount of change to Allen while his talented backup is here waiting to get his chance to  dominate. We had seen what Griffen is capable of throughout the past few years in limited action, and the Vikings knew that now, with Allen’s contract expiring, is as perfect a time as any for Griffen to step into a full-time role. There is no reason for fans to be angry with Allen. He gave our beloved Vikings several great years, especially in 2011, when he had 22 sacks. He did not end his Vikings career on bad terms with the team, as he simply wants to win a Super Bowl. Instead of being angry that he will be behind enemy lines, Vikings fans should rejoice and be glad that he gave us six tremendous years. He may not be with our team any longer, but Vikings fans will always have a place for Jared Allen in their hearts.

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The second week of OTAs got started on Tuesday with Jared Allen showing up, after missing last week, and Greg Jennings healthy after sitting out with an ankle injury last week.

According to 1500 ESPN, Allen did not participate in practices because he is still in the process of coming back from his offseason surgeries.  He was the only Vikings not present last week.

Tomorrow’s practice sessions will be open to the media.

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If I win the $550 million jackpot tonight I will buy a suite for all of us to share next season.  As a millionaire, the amount of that would be nothing but a drop in the bucket.

Which is exactly what $21,000 is to Jared Allen.

Nevertheless, Jared Allen was only fined that amount for his launch block that ended the season for Bears guard Lance Louis.  While Allen hit him from a blind angle, the knee of Louis got stuck in the grass at Soldier Field, causing the damage that landed him on the injured reserve.

Some would argue that Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears was the end of the Vikings season in terms of participating in any week 18 games.  What we know for sure is that Jared Allen’s blind side block ended Lance Louis’s season.

On an Antoine Winfield interception, Allen launched his body at the offensive lineman in an attempt to block during the return, but the result was a knee injury that has brought more criticism Allen’s way than he has seen since he did this to Matt Schaub in 2008.

The hits to Schaub resulted in the NFL making a rule change the following offseason, but this time around Allen’s hit on Louis was one that is already illegal despite the fact that he wasn’t penalized for it.  Allen can expect a hefty fine from the NFL and plenty of jabs from the team that currently leads the NFC North but now has to finish out the regular season without their best offensive lineman.

Head Coach Lovie Smith offered up his take on Monday.

“Jared Allen plays the game a certain way, a good player in our league,” said Smith.  “I think there are some plays when you look at them again, you say, ‘Hey, we could have done without that.’ I think our game could do without that play. We have an injured player right now based on it. I think he could have gotten blocked a little bit differently, but that’s about all I can probably say about it. I’m sure the league will look at it and give another opinion about what they think.”

I can’t honestly say that I believe Allen is a dirty player that intentionally hurt Louis, and he echoed that in his post-game comments about the play and his apology to Louis and his family, but I also think the play is one that the NFL could indeed do without and that Allen will (and should) hear from the league office.

What do you think Allen should expect provided the evidence and testimony mounting against him on this one?

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Jared Allen seems to be plenty aware of the incredibly low expectations that fans, the media, and analysts have for the Vikings in 2012.  Allen, however, doesn’t seem to think of low expectations as a particularly bad thing.

“I truly don’t know what our expectations are,” Allen said. “That can actually be a good thing. There are no preconceived notions of where you have to get, so you just work your butt off and everybody goes out there and lays it on the line. Everybody is working toward one common goal and that’s to win this game.”

“When we had Brett, you’re expectation goes through the roof that you’re going to make it to the Super Bowl,” Allen continued. “Anything less than that is unsatisfactory. Coming off a 3-13 season, no one expects us to do anything. So, we can fly below the radar and focus on being a solid team and just try to put win after win together.”

I have iterated a number of times that I am genuinely looking forward to watching this young Vikings team play, grow, and improve over the course of the 2012 season.  “Win after win” isn’t a phrase you hear projected very often, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility and it is nice to hear the leader of the defense express it as a possibility.

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