Allen’s quiet pursuit of sacks record continues

Jared Allen and his wife recently brought home a baby

daughter.

So Allen’s bye week was mostly spent changing diapers and

relishing the miracle of birth and the joy of fatherhood, not

pondering his opportunity to break the NFL’s all-time single-season

sacks record.

But when Allen and the Minnesota Vikings take on the rival

Packers in Green Bay on Monday night, the 29-year-old will resume

his quiet pursuit of Michael Strahan’s mark of 22 1/2 sacks.

Halfway through the season, Allen has 12 1/2 sacks, a pace for

25.

”I knew that he was really focusing on a mission for 2011, but

to say I could’ve predicted he’d be at 12 1/2 in eight games? I

don’t know if I could’ve predicted that,” Vikings coach Leslie

Frazier said. ”I knew he was going to play better than a year ago,

and boy has he. Hopefully we can keep this going.”

DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys is right behind Allen with

12 sacks. Because of that and Minnesota’s 2-6 record, Allen’s

production hasn’t received much national attention. Yet.

”He’s had an unbelievable year, and I think he should get more

attention than what he’s got even though we haven’t probably been

where we needed to be,” linebacker Chad Greenway said. ”But I

hope that we can get some more attention from him by winning some

games.”

What if Allen is close to Strahan’s record, set in 2001 with the

New York Giants, with a couple of games to go?

”At that point it’ll be like Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit, just

not being in New York,” Greenway predicted. ”Everybody will be

talking about it, putting a hex on him, but the way he plays we’re

all coming along with him. He’s playing at a high level, so we’re

happy for him.”

Like he has done to so many left tackles throughout his career,

Allen maneuvered around a question whether 23-plus sacks is

attainable this season.

”Anything’s attainable,” Allen said. ”At the start of every

year, everybody tries to attain greatness. It can’t be your focus.

If the end result is such, then it means you did your job, you did

all the little things, preparing and going out every week and

trying to do whatever it takes to go out there and win. If that’s

what you’re focusing on, you’re probably not going to get it and

you’re not doing your job and everything else you’ve got to

do.”

The 29-year-old Allen, fifth in sacks among active players and

32nd on the NFL’s career list, vowed to come back strong after a

2010 season that was his worst of four with the Vikings. He has

done it while facing frequent double teams and chip blocks from

running backs while the defensive tackles haven’t done much to

disrupt opponents. Allen has at least a half-sack in 10 straight

games, dating to the last two games of last season.

”You expect it. You get it week in, week out, year in, year

out,” Allen said, adding: ”If they concentrate on me, someone

else is going to have a one on one, someone else is going to have

an opportunity to make a play. More power to them, and we’ll find a

way to get it done.”

Allen has proven, too, that he’s more than a pass rush

specialist. He has 44 total tackles, including five additional

tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries,

two passes broken up and one interception.

”Honestly, I’m just trying to go out there and have fun,

really,” he said. ”Each week trying to go out there and get a win

and bring a positive attitude to the game. Like I said, we’re going

through some adversity right now and got to believe there’s a

reason for it and we’ll come out a better team. As far as

personally, me at the end of the year, we’ll sit back and look at

it. Right now, we’re just trying to win some football games.”

Starting with the unbeaten Packers. This is Allen’s favorite

team to face, considering his 12 sacks in eight career games

against them. For the Vikings to have a chance at victory over

Aaron Rodgers and his amazing passing attack, Allen must have

another one of his relentless performances on the edge and take

down the quarterback several times.

”The guy’s just been on a roll for a while, but there’s nothing

to say he can’t have a bad game,” Allen said. ”We’ve played

against great quarterbacks here in the past. We had a shot to win

it last time we played him. We’ve got to come up in the fourth

quarter and make a couple stops, but he’s on a roll. Their team is

playing great. Hopefully we can go in there and play the

spoilers.”

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