Despite Coach Childress and the Vikings making it known that offseason problems were not going to be a part of the team anymore, they brought in a player with two DUIs.
That player is of course Jared Allen. No deal like this had been seen in Minnesota since they traded to get Hershall Walker around 20 years ago. The Vikings sent their 2008 first round draft pick, two third round picks to the Chiefs and exchanged sixth-round picks.
Along with the mega trade came a historical contract for a defensive player (six years/$74 million, $32M guaranteed). All this for a player one wrong step away from a possible season-long suspension.
What did the Vikings get in return? I believe, by far, the most exciting defensive Viking to watch since John Randle. John Randle, a staple in Viking lore, played with a passion for the game that would not be suppressed.
I see a lot of John Randle in Jared Allen. They both seem to have a motor that just keeps going and going. Both are intense, ridiculously tough and both have terrified apposing quarterbacks throughout their career.
There are obvious differences though. Randle was a smaller interior lineman compared to Allen, a 6'6" 270lb end. Allen's size, strength and Randle-like passion make him a force to be reckoned with.
I fell in love watching Allen this past season. When Lion's rookie offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus hit Allen in the knee in what was generally characterised as a cheap shot, I gained a great respect for the player who, despite the obvious pain to his knee, had to be held back by a teammate to keep him from going after the rookie tackle.
Watching Allen limping and shouting toward Cherilus just blew me away; the passion was unmistakable.
It seemed that every week I looked at the injury report, Allen was listed as "questionable." Pure grit and determination allowed him to play through knee and shoulder issues.
Allen ended the season with 14.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Stats that awarded him a much-earned spot on the NFC Pro-Bowl roster, where he had three tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.
As for the character issues that I mentioned earlier, I have not heard anything negative about Jared Allen's off field activities. ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert characterized Allen as "...playing with a toughness and intensity that rubs off on his teammates."
He makes his team play better, he visits troops over seas, and just seems like a guy that would be fun to be around.
Jared Allen is a real Viking!! Well worth everything and more Minnesota gave up to get this future Hall of Famer.