BBAO: Jared Allen's disappearing act

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Where has Jared Allen been this year? Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press pursues that question Friday after noting Allen, the NFL's sack leader since the start of the 2004 season, has one sack in the Minnesota Vikings' first four games.

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier suggested teams "pay a great deal of attention to him" and added: "He's going to have a bust-out game, and hopefully it will be this weekend. He's not a disappointment by any means." Allen, meanwhile, told Sansevere that he's been close on a half-dozen.

Allen: "You could count four, five, six, maybe. Look at the Detroit game. I would have had two in the Miami game. That half-step, that half-second, is huge. Huge! There's always what ifs, but eventually it comes back. They seem to come in spurts."

It's true that Allen's 29 sacks in two previous seasons with the Vikings have often come in spurts. And it's true that offenses generally can gameplan to take one player out of any game, and perhaps that's why the rest of the Vikings defense has played well all season.

But here's the bottom line: An All-Pro defensive end has to make big plays at some point, regardless of how offenses are approaching him. I don't think anyone is going to be satisfied if Allen gets to the end of the season with a couple sacks and attributes it to being "close" and constant double-teams. Would you?

Continuing around the NFC North: