Jared Allen will not be snubbed of the Defensive MVP in 2012 like he was in 2011.
Allen was one sack away from breaking Michael Strahan’s sack record of 22.5 sacks; unfortunately for Allen, he was not given a “gimme” sack like Strahan was when Strahan broke the record. Regardless of the fact Allen did not break the sack record, he still deserved the award more than Terrell Suggs did, but I digress.
Many people speculated that the reason Allen did not win the award in 2011 was because of the Vikings' 3-13 record. That will change in 2012. A stronger team on both sides of the ball will be the formula in helping Allen get recognized by the voters as the best defensive player in the NFL.
In 2012, the Vikings will be a much better team than they were in 2011 because of the regular offseason schedule and because of their incredible draft positioning. The better the Vikings are, the better the chances of a player from the team earning an individual award.
Although the Vikings might be a much more successful team next year—because nothing could get worse than last year's debacle—Allen still needs to produce at very high level, which is highly likely considering not much will change for the team with respect to the defensive line next year.
What will change for the defensive line is the growth of Brian Robison, who in 2011 had eight sacks as a full-time starter. The stronger Robison gets, the better it will be for Allen. Last year, it seemed as if Allen was the only defensive player on the Vikings who demanded attention, yet he still accumulated 22 sacks.
The Vikings will definitely look to bolster their defense this offseason either through the draft or free agency. Although a better defense may mean fewer sacks or tackles for Allen, he nonetheless will still produce at a high level because of less attention to his presence.
A stronger defense for the Vikings will definitely help Allen with defensive MVP votes. In the past, the players that are winning the defensive MVP are usually the best defensive players that play for one of the stronger defenses in the NFL; this was not the case for Allen last year, but was the case for Suggs.
In 2012 the Vikings schedule may favor Allen with respect to his sack numbers. The Vikings will face three of the top four most sacked quarterbacks in 2011: Alex Smith (44), Tarvaris Jackson (42) and Blaine Gabbert (40). Allen will also play against division rivals Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers twice next year, who have been sacked a combined 72 times in 2011. It is safe to say Allen will be going up against easy targets next year.
It would be irrational to think that Allen will regress as the Vikings improve in 2012. It would also be irrational to think Allen’s motor will stop running just because he broke a Vikings record for most sacks in a season. Allen is one of the few players in the NFL that is always hungry for more.
Jared Allen is most definitely upset at the fact that the defensive MVP was not given to him in 2011. Expect Allen to transfer that anger to play on the field and win his first defensive MVP—and it may not be his last.
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