Allen, others likely face last game with Vikings
Adrian Peterson’s status for the last game of the season is
”Stay tuned,” the Minnesota running back said.
Even if he doesn’t play on Sunday against Detroit, Peterson will
have plenty more games in purple, his health allowing. Peterson has
a lot of prominent teammates who aren’t, however, assured of such a
future. Defensive end Jared Allen leads the list.
”I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about it, but it’s not
what’s on my mind right now,” Allen said on Thursday. ”I’ve got
to prepare for this game. I’m trying to go out the way I want in
this Metrodome and have this last game be something special.”
Neither the Vikings nor the Lions can qualify for the playoffs,
of course, so pride, nostalgia and camaraderie are the priorities
for Sunday. Allen, who has 83 1/2 sacks since he arrived in
Minnesota in 2008, tied for the most in the NFL over that span, has
an expiring contract. He can still reach a double-digit total for
the seventh straight year with half a sack or more against the
Lions, but at age 31 he’s not likely to fit in the team’s plans for
”I’m not naive to the point that I don’t understand the
business side of this or understand the trends that have happened
in the past,” Allen said, adding: ”Some things are out of your
control, and this one is out of your control. We’re moving forward.
And when the smoke settles, everybody will be where they’re
supposed to be, whether it’s here or whether it’s not. That will be
decided at that time, but right now I’m having fun getting a chance
to put this uniform on one more time.”
The sentiment for Allen will be especially high considering the
probability he’ll be playing next to defensive tackle Kevin
Williams, who has become a close friend, for the final time.
Williams is the longest-tenured player on the team, and the
33-year-old will also be a free agent in the spring.
They’ve been one of the top end-tackle tandems in the
”I don’t know that there’s going to be many better. There might
be some that are the same,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.
Allen and Williams have talked often this week about the way
they’d like to finish the season, the stadium and, likely, their
”I don’t want anybody crying around here on Friday and
Saturday,” Allen said. ”But we’ll enjoy it when the time is
right. After the game, that’s the time to get sentimental.”
The end of the season always brings turnover in the NFL, but
after a bad year there’s often more. Other veterans who could be
with the Vikings for the last time on Sunday: left guard Charlie
Johnson, running back Toby Gerhart, tight end John Carlson and
defensive tackle Fred Evans.
Peterson is aiming to play, regardless of the relevance of this
game. He was held out two weeks ago with a sprained right foot and
said he ”felt uncomfortable” playing on it last week. Peterson
has also been hampered by a groin injury. He took part in practice
on Thursday, which coach Leslie Frazier said was encouraging to
him. But Peterson sounded more pessimistic than usual about his
”I’m feeling OK. I’ve felt better. My body has been able to
rest a little bit. I’m trying to push to Sunday,” he said.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org
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