Jared Allen finished the 2011 season with 22 sacks, just one-half sack away from tying Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season sack record. The talented veteran defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings had 3½ sacks of Josh McCown in the first 40 minutes of the game against the Chicago Bears in Week 17, but couldn’t achieve football immortality in Minnesota’s 17-13 loss.
The Vikings defensive end was the only bright spot in a 3-13 season. His new goal is to be the first player to have two 20-sack seasons.
Jared Allen joined KFAN in Minneapolis with Paul Allen to talk about whether there were any moments throughout this season where he feels like he maybe left a potential sack on the table, Brett Favre being the only reason that Michael Strahan currently holds the NFL single-season sack record, how the Minnesota Vikings will improve on a 3-13 season, and if he’s comfortable with Christian Ponder being the starting quarterback for the Vikings heading into next year.
Any moments you regret where you thought you had a sack and missed it? Are you mad that Erin Henderson stole half of a sack from you in the last game?
“No I stole half of a sack from him yesterday by knocking the ball out. I looked back at what I missed against Detroit. I look back at the teams where they took away my sack and gave me a team sack in Green Bay when Aaron Rodgers dropped the ball and ran into my guy and dropped the ball. They called…I don’t know what they called it. I missed another one that game when I hit him and the ball came off the top. There was Arizona where I got poked in the eye. Those are the four that will always sit in my mind. I think the biggest things was I knew if we could get one more series yesterday we could have scored after that pick [interception]. One more series I knew I was going to get it. I just kind of ran out of time, but it was fun. It was a hell of an effort. I’ll tell you that. I gotta give myself credit for it, but I really can’t. I honestly couldn’t have done it without the good lord.”
You were teammates with Brett Favre a short time ago and with him falling down he gave Michael Strahan the NFL single-season sack record. You guys were butt slapping as teammates, but thanks to Brett Favre the sack record still belongs to Michael Strahan:
“Yeah I need to slap him right in the face for that one [laughs]. You know what I will say this: People have been giving Michael Strahan a hard time about it, but a sack is a sack is a sack. They were recording it a sack. That is what it is. I’ve had sacks where I was closest to the guy when he ran out of bounds, so you work hard and forget. The ones you miss are the really hard sacks and the good rush you have and miss. I just use this as motivation. There’s always next year. Hopefully I can come back and one of these years get close to it again and have another memorable run at it and try to be the first person to have two 20-sack seasons, so we’ll see how this plays out.”
How is it going to get better next year for the Minnesota Vikings after going 3-13 this season?
“It comes down to trusting our organization and the Wilf’s. That’s one reason I came here. The Wilf’s honestly I believe every year want to win. They are willing to put us in the position and get the players in here to do what we have to do. The good thing for our fans is that at 3-13 there’s only one way to go and that’s up. I don’t know how things are going to change, but things will change. All I can do is do my part and keep my butt in great shape again this offseason. I am going to have another rigorous training camp with all my trainers out in Arizona and I am going to come back and try to do anything I can do to help our team win. I was talking to some friends and my wife the other day and I said it’s amazing once you start accomplishing all the little things you can accomplish in this league it really comes down to I am missing one piece of hardware. That’s a Super Bowl ring. I want to do whatever it takes to win that. I know the organization does too. That’s what keeps me driving. I think that’s what gives our fans hope that 2012 is going to be dramatically different because of the fact of the dramatic nature of our coaches and management and our owners.”
Are you okay heading into the offseason with Christian Ponder as the number one quarterback?
“That’s none of my business to be real honest with you. Whoever the coaches decide is going to be the guy – that is going to be the guy. I think Christian has a ton of talent. I really do and just like anybody else we were all rookies at one point. You are going to have good games. You are going to have bad games. I just encourage – just like encouraging every body here. Take this offseason and you always gotta do a self scout and work on your weaknesses and build on your strengths. Whether he is our number one or not – that’s not my decision to make. I do think the kid is a talented kid and there’s promise there. My job…I look at differently from a defensive standpoint. I look for what we can do to keep people from scoring points. We always start the game out 0-0. If we do our job we should be able to win every game. That’s the focus I got and I am going to try to come back and see what I can do to make our team better.”