Friday, January 30, 2015
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jared allen

The Vikings return all 4 defensive ends from the 2012 squad. The top of the depth chart is loaded with talent but Rick Spielman still signed guys that could steal that final roster spot away from D’Aundre Reed. Reed was a 7th round pick by the Vikings in 2011 but has yet to earn a single tackle in 2 regular seasons with the team. As a matter-of-fact he has collected only 1 solo tackles in the preseason games. The writing might be on the wall for D’Aundre because the Vikings signed free agent Lawrence Jackson from Detroit in the off season. Jackson was a 1st round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2008 NFL draft. Jackson started 51 games at USC… Phillip Rivers is the only other NCAA player to accomplish that statistic. The 6 year pro is listed at 6’4’ 271 pounds and has played in 69 NFL games. Jackson has 19.5 sacks and 141 total tackles in his career. Yea, I would say that’s and upgrade.

The Vikings also signed undrafted rookie free agent Marquis Jackson from Portland State. Last season Marquis had 36 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Prior to Portland State, he racked up 14 sacks and 36 TFL in 2 seasons with Texas Southern. Marquis has terrific movement skills and explodes at the point of attack. At one time he was highly rated player that just didn’t play with consistent urgency in 2012. USC had interest in Marquis, but academic problems stop him from becoming a Trojan.

At the bottom of the defensive end depth chart is undrafted free agents Collins Ukwu and George Johnson. The good news is the Vikings will not need to play Jared Allen, Brian Robison or Everson Griffen much in preseason so those 2 might see some playing time. The bad news is Ukwu and Johnson are long shots with the Vikings.

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OTAs have not produced, knock on wood, any devastating injuries for the Minnesota Vikings.  Still, there are two guys that will not be practicing until training camp rolls around.

Jared Allen joined his teammates this week, but Leslie Frazier gave Vikings.com an update on the situation and has made it clear we shouldn’t expect to see him in action until the team goes to Mankato.

“We probably won’t see him until we get to training camp, but from everything that Eric Sugarman and our staff has told me medically, he is doing great,” said Frazier. “There won’t be any problem when we get to training camp and we’re looking forward to having him when the time comes. But the fact that he’s in town, he’s doing his rehab here, coming out to our practices, that’s a good thing. It’s good to have him in our meetings as well.”

Frazier also clarified that the staff is being cautious because of Allen’s shoulder and that his knee rehabilitation is more of a secondary issue.

Jacob Lacey signed as a free agent this offseason, and seemed like a guy with a solid chance at being a key reserve, but he will have to wait until training camp to try and earn his spot on the roster.  Lacey suffered a thumb injury during Tuesday’s practice and underwent surgery on Wednesday, according to Access Vikings.

Lacey was the nickel corner with the second team prior to the injury, with Josh Robinson playing that role with the first team, so the injury really seems to open the door for Bobby Felder to make a case for himself.

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Brian Robison didn’t have a bad year in 2012 by any means, but he is looking forward to getting healthy and contributing even more during his contract year.  His shoulder injury did not require surgery, but he says it did bother him particularly during the playoff game in Green Bay, and he is a permanent reminder of the injury in the form of a quarter-sized bump on his shoulder.

“I’ve still got a little deformity there with the bone popping up. It’s still there and it’s going to be there,” Robison told Viking Update.  “They say it’s pretty permanent. It’s been good. I’ve been getting strong in the weight room and been feeling good on the field so far, so it’s been going well.”

“Pretty well” might be a bit of an understatement for Robison after Wednesday’s practice session where he intercepted quarterback Christian Ponder not once, but twice.  On one occasion, rookie corner Xavier Rhodes tipped the pass back towards the line and Robison was able to make the heads up play.  On the other, he was simply able to get into the air and snatch Ponder’s pass before walking into the endzone.  While that isn’t exactly the news we want to be hearing about our quarterback, it is always good to hear that our defensive line is making some splash plays at the line.

Robison ended up with an arm harness last season and a brace for his elbow, which was a separate injury which he admits also impacted his game.

“A lot. It really did. There was some times out there where that, paired along with the elbow brace that I was wearing, I felt like a lot of times I was playing with no arms out there and it was kind of a weird deal,” he said .  “You can really see in the playoff game when I came back and then six days later we had to play another game, it was one of those deals where it just wasn’t ready to go, but the competitor in me didn’t want to sit out.”

Robison has never reached double digit sacks, with 8.5 last season being his career high, but he is a burst type of player that seldom seems to be a goat and has made his share of big plays from the left end position.  Like Jared Allen, Robison faces a contract year in 2013, and he will be expected to take a step or two towards improving even more.

 

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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.

Jared Allen’s contract situation isn’t keeping him awake at night, and neither are any lingering injuries, and he says he is now getting the best sleep he’s had in years.  This is important because Allen is the only Viking that has yet to make an appearance at the OTA practices that took place this week.

“I’m excited to be playing ball and especially I’m excited to be healthy this year. That’s the biggest thing,” he told SiriusXM via Scout.com. “My contract has been so far out of mind because I’m finally able to train this year. My shoulder is back. I didn’t know how rehab was going to be, this being the first surgery I’ve ever had. I’m just excited that my strength is coming back; I’m sleeping again at night. Two years of not sleeping very well, it wears on you.”

Allen spent the week celebrating his anniversary and Leslie Frazier says, according to the Pioneer Press, that Allen will join his teammates after this weekend.

Earlier this offseason, Allen said he would be “out the door” if the Vikings approached him about a pay cut, and so it appears he is perfectly content entering the final year of his contract without any guarantees that extend into 2014 or beyond.

“I’m not hostile. I love the Minnesota Vikings. They got me out of a situation in Kansas City where I was very unhappy and put a lot of faith in me,” Allen said. “The whole point is I don’t worry about my contract, and I don’t. I’ve always been a person that says my play will take care of everything else. ”

“As long as I perform on the football field, you have options in front of you,” he continued. “As far as where I’ll end up, I don’t know. I’m playing this year for this year. I loved being a Viking. I love being a Viking. I want to win a Super Bowl as a Viking.”

Injuries have been cited as a contributor to Allen’s “down year” in 2012, but he still registered 12 sacks and played well enough to not yet be a candidate to be put out to the pasture that Rick Spielman has been sending plenty of veterans to lately.  Considering the young defensive end talent on this team, Allen’s potential contract demands, and the huge dip in value placed on veteran pass rushers this offseason, it is reasonable to wonder if this season will be his last as a Viking.

For now, however, a healthy Jared Allen has plenty of financial motivation to couple with his desire to win a Super Bowl and that is a pretty good formula for short-term success.

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