MINNEAPOLIS -- After the Chicago Bears signed Jared Allen to a four-year, $32 million contract on Wednesday morning, I asked a question on Twitter, wondering how Vikings fans felt about the sight of Allen in another uniform after years of being on the receiving end of the prominent-NFC-North-player-switches-teams scenario.
There was a wide range of responses, but by and large, many of you are saying you're at peace with the decision:
We'll talk more later this week about how this fits into a major shift among NFC North pass-rushers, but my initial reaction is, I wouldn't put this along the same lines as Brett Favre jumping from the Packers to the Vikings (with a stopover in New York) for a couple reasons:
-- Allen's parting with the Vikings looked inevitable for the better part of the last year, was a mutual decision and ended with cordial statements from both sides on Wednesday; Favre's split with the Packers was an acrimonious divorce that played out on national TV, with the Vikings largely entering the picture out of Favre's desire to stick it to his old team.
-- As big a rivalry as the Vikings have with the Bears, it doesn't match the intensity of what they have with the Packers, at least in the minds of their fans.
-- And as popular and prolific as Allen has been in Minnesota, he doesn't have the iconic status Favre had with the Packers. He probably means more to the Vikings than Greg Jennings did to the Packers, but it's hard for any player to duplicate what Favre meant to Green Bay. If Adrian Peterson were ever to cross the border, that might be a closer approximation.
It will be interesting, however, to see how Allen is received in Minnesota (and for that matter, how Julius Peppers is received in Chicago) next season. He'll match up with Matt Kalil, and a number of you said on Twitter how much you're looking forward to seeing Allen face the third-year tackle. There was also a common sentiment among you that Allen's best years might be behind him; I'd agree that he's slipped, and from a football perspective, the Vikings' decision was clear-cut. It's always interesting, though, to see what's stirred up in a player by the desire to prove people wrong.
This will be an interesting relationship to follow over the next few years, particularly if Allen conjures up a couple big games against the Vikings. And if the NFL's Week 17 divisional rotation continues for a fifth straight season in 2014, the Vikings should end the year with a final week matchup in Chicago. That promises to be fun.