Jared Allen: “We need to clean up little things and get one win. Maybe that’ll be as infectious as these loses have been.”
It has simply been a tale of two halves for the Minnesota Vikings this season. The Vikes have led at halftime in their first three games only to see leads evaporate in the 4th quarter resulting in brutal losses. If you look at the teams Minnesota has fallen to, they’ve lost to San Diego, 24-17, they’ve lost to Tampa, 24-20, Detroit, 26-23 in overtime, and Kansas City, 22-17. That’s life in the NFL. Games are decided by seven points or less and it comes down to a play here or a play there.Jared Allen already has six and a half sacks on the year in just four games. On paper the Vikings are 0-4, but Allen believes the team doesn’t feel like they are winless in the Twin Cities. His defense needs to step up and make a big play to close out games. Allen will look to rise to that challenge this week against the Arizona Cardinals at home to get on the winning track.Jared Allen joined XTRA Sports 910 in Arizona with Bickley and MJ to discuss the Minnesota Vikings starting out 0-4 this season, the Vikings needing to cut down mistakes on both sides of the football, Leslie Frazier having the right personnel out on the field to win games, how much the lockout has hurt the Vikings with a new quarterback and offensive coordinator and how impressed he is with the Cardinals offense with Kevin Kolb.
What’s it been like in Minnesota for the last couple of weeks? You guys are 0-4?
“It’s been weird. We don’t feel like we have lost four games. The first three games we kind of had in the bag at halftime. I don’t know if we rested on our leads or what happened, but we ended up giving those away and then we ended up losing a tough one on a couple of big plays that Kansas City got. Everybody is having this attitude that we got a couple of bad breaks, but we need to clean up some little things and go out there and get one win. Maybe that’ll be as infectious as these loses have been.”
Is it basically just a play here or a play there? Do you need to cut down on your mistakes?
“It really has just been a play here or a play there. Unfortunately in past years that hasn’t cost us. This year those small plays have lead to a couple of big plays. You look at the Tampa play. We missed a gap there. We give up a 40-yard touchdown. We let a guy get over the top of us. Last week they hit a touchdown on a blitz, which turned out to be the turning point of the game. In the Detroit game again they caught us on a couple of blitzes and their guy [Matthew Stafford] throws a ball up and a guy [Calvin Johnson] makes a heck of a play. It’s been nothing major. It’s all little things that could be fixed easily and we clean those up we can finish out by dominating some teams.
Leslie Frazier talked about possible personnel changes this week. Is it time to make some changes? Do you believe the right guys are out on the field to win games?
“I believe we can get it done. Everybody has seen what we can do when we are all playing together as a team. We’ve all seen what happens when we don’t. Obviously it is a tale of two halves of football. We played teams that have been undefeated, but we had them down 20 points at halftime, but couldn’t move the ball and then of all of a sudden we kind of lapsed a little bit and they pick us apart, so I’m not sure if it is personnel. That’s on the coaches. I think as far scheme wise sometimes you get into a situation where it is sometimes easier to dumb it down and get back to playing basics on both offense and defense and let players make plays.”
You brought in a new quarterback and offensive coordinator. How much do you think the lockout hurt you guys?
“Yes and no. Yes from the standpoint that we got a new quarterback, so we didn’t have the OTA’s for the receivers to get on the same page. No because we are bringing in a veteran quarterback and at the end of the day it’s everybody’s job to stay in shape throughout the off-season. None of the other teams had the ability to go through the OTA’s and stuff like that. At the end of the day you have training camp, which is what two-and-half weeks of training camp and then you got the entire preseason. At that point if you really can’t be on sync you probably shouldn’t be professionals, so we don’t make any excuses. To be honest our offense is scoring enough points. I take the blame defensively because if we don’t allow them to score they don’t win. There was a time where we use to say ‘if we score 17 points in the game that was plenty for us.’ That’s the kind of mentality we need to get back to and like I said we need to just get back playing better as a team.”
When you watch film what do you think of this Cardinals offense with Kevin Kolb?
“They are making plays. As a team they are kind of in the position that we are in. They got good players and good athletes . They haven’t just kind of put everything together at the right time. They are in the same situation we are. They have been doing a great job running the ball. We’ve been watching a lot of that film and that’s one thing we are going to have to stop. That’s where a team can be tough. I feel like if we can get teams to be one dimensional then you have an edge, so our focus is like every week is to shut down the run. That’s what we hang our hat on around.