Tuesday, December 1, 2015

jared allen

by -

[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.

The sudden increase in the league-wide salary cap has resulted in a number of startling contracts through two days of free agency, but one has to keep in mind that the pot of gold has increased quite a bit, but NFL rosters have stayed the same size.  It only makes sense that contracts handed out today will be larger than their three year old equivalents.

Anyways, one of those contracts that might have prompted a few audible gasps was the one the Vikings handed out to defensive end Everson Griffen.  The initial numbers reported included a five year duration, $42.5 million total salary, with $19.8 million guaranteed.  These numbers seem steep for a relatively unproven commodity, but the Vikings claimed they are paying for the future, not the past.

They did, however, build in a little insurance.  By guaranteeing the first two years of salary, along with his $6 million in signing bonus, the Vikings can cut ties with Griffen after two seasons with minimal cap exposure.  The mainstream media has picked on the re-signing a little bit, mainly because Griffen officially only has one career start, but that stat is very misleading as his snap count and in-game impact has exceeded the expectations of most backups.

After the signing, word emerged that the Denver Broncos had been in contact with Griffen’s camp, and were prepared to offer him a contract in the neighborhood of $9 million per year.  Like the Bears did with Phil Loadholt last year, the competitive pressure may have forced the Vikings to quickly up the ante, but that’s the risk you run when you don’t lock up your own players sooner rather than later.

The defensive end market is pretty deep right now.  Who would have thought we’d ever see Jared Allen, Julius Peppers, and DeMarcus Ware all unemployed at the same time?  Still, I think the Vikings got one of the better speed rushers available, and he’s about the youngest option that was available.  With plenty of run stopping ends still available for cheap, and a need to build off of youth, I think Spielman made a decent call here as long as Griffen keeps himself out of trouble.

Adam’s Grade:  B

by -

Free agency is sneaking up on us and the Vikings have been quiet, as usual, regarding their plans to re-sign their own free agents.  Almost certainly, there will be some of our own guys signing new contracts prior to the March 11th opening of the market, but this is as good of a time as any to participate in some good old fashioned speculation.

I tend to view the NFL Draft as a time to amass talent, with less regard for immediate need than is displayed in the opening days of free agency, so I have narrowed in on five guys that I think could help make an immediate impact on the opening day roster.  Of course, free agency is highly unpredictable and we fans seldom get what we want, but this slow time in the offseason is the perfect time for us dreamers to dream.

With a head coach hired, and both coordinator positions filled, we have as clear of an indication as to what direction this team is headed as we will get for quite some time.

On offense, the hiring of Norv Turner suggests that the development of a quarterback and bulking up of the O-line are going to be top priorities, as he will likely want to feature power running and deep routes throughout 2014 and beyond.  The defense will likely be a less-bland version of the 4-3 than what we have seen in Minnesota of late and talent is needed pretty much across the board.

The Vikings have a number of larger contracts set to expire this offseason which frees up a bunch of cap space and will allow them to make some moves.  The first wave of roster movement comes in the form of re-signings as teams try to lock up their own players, at least the ones they want.  The releasing of some some players (like, perhaps, Erin Henderson) might make this list grow, but here is an attempt to prioritize targets within the Vikings own roster.


MATT CASSEL, QB:  Technically, Cassel is not a free agent… yet.  He has the ability to opt out of the second year of his contract which pays him $3.15 million with the Vikings.  Jay Cutler has already been retained by Chicago and this year’s free agent quarterback class leaves a ton to be desired.  It could be really tempting for Cassel to shoot for bluer (more lucrative) waters this offseason and the Vikings really need to convince him to stick around.  Without Cassel on the roster this team appears stuck without a plan A, B, or even plan C.

EVERSON GRIFFEN, DE:  Everson Griffen didn’t impress in 2013 the way he did in 2012, but then again either did just about anyone on this roster.  It remains to be seen how he can hold up playing full games over a full season, but the young, athletic defensive end has shown his ability to be disruptive in the backfield.  It would really be disappointing to see the Vikings let him leave without a fight as they are headed for great transition along the defensive line.

TOBY GERHART, RB:  Gerhart is most likely heading for a team willing to pay him to be a starter, or at least a key part of a rotation, instead of staying with the Vikings where Adrian Peterson is cemented as the top running back.  Running backs are no longer “a dime a dozen” as they were a few years back, so Gerhart actually stands to sign a decent sized contract as an unrestricted free agent.  The Vikings would probably love to sign him back, but logic indicates it is a long shot.

JARED ALLEN, DE:  It would be nice to see the Vikings get creative and structure a deal with Allen that sees him play out his career with the Vikings like they did with Antoine Winfield.  The problem with that is that the Vikings didn’t honor their end of the bargain and jettisoned Winfield after he earned incentives the hard way, thus burning up any goodwill they might have had with their veteran leaders.  Allen has noted how much Minnesota means to him, and maybe bringing Mike Zimmer to town changes things, but it seems unlikely that Minnesota will be the top bidder for his services at this point in his career.

I mentioned during our Monday night live chat that I didn’t think the Vikings could manage to swing a trade that sent Jared Allen to a contender while stockpiling draft picks for the upcoming offseason.

My reasoning was simply that there were too many obstacles standing in the way of a deadline deal.  Allen’s age (31), dipping production, and price tag would make potential suitors balk before shelling out anything lucrative.  In addition, Allen could really only be considered by teams running the 4-3, which eliminated roughly half the league right off the bat.  The demand is also just not there, as evidenced by how long aging defensive ends with big names sat on the open market this past offseason.

Now, the Vikings were undoubtedly willing to listen to offers today despite all of the obstacles, and a roller coaster ride of reports indicated Allen was drawing at least some interest.  All of the various reports essentially culminated to the following: The Seahawks and Broncos expressed interest, and the Vikings wanted a second round pick or possibly a third rounder, but a deal couldn’t get done.

Thus, Jared Allen will be a Viking for the remainder of this season as expected, and is likely to move on to another team after his contract expires and free agency opens.

Now, a lot of people have been providing bad information regarding a potential 2015 compensatory pick the Vikings could get for Allen’s departure.  The Vikings will not be eligible for a third round pick.  Allen is over 30 years old and has ten years of NFL experience, which means the best pick the Vikings could receive for letting him walk is a fifth rounder.  This little known rule apparently has some NFL reporters confused, but the Steelers learned this lesson the hard way when Alan Faneca bolted as a free agent, and it even impacted the Vikings back when Jerry Ball departed Minnesota.

Jared Allen has provided us with some of our favorite memories in recent years, and he will be missed, but at this point it seems like he will be leaving for good and the Vikings will get very little in return for letting him.

Get Social