Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, who will set out onto the free agent market for the first time in his career next week, said on a Sirius XM Radio interview on Wednesday that he wants to go to a team that will give him "a chance to win, a good organization and a fair contract." Whether or not Allen gets the first and the second item on his list could depend on his definition of the third one.
Allen said last December he'd retire before accepting a job as a situational pass-rusher, adding "that's for the birds." The subtext to a job as a situational pass-rusher is that it likely won't pay the kind of money that Allen, who made more than $14 million last season, has been accustomed to earning. But if he is willing to play under that kind of a deal, he could find everything else he's looking for.
He could be a good fit for a team like Denver as a pass-rusher, but it seems unlikely the Broncos would lean on him for 1,083 snaps like the Vikings did last year. Allen struggled at times against the run, when it seemed like he was too far upfield to maintain his gap against the run, and collected many of his 11 1/2 sacks against patchwork offensive lines. If he wasn't asked to take a pounding against the run on a regular basis, he might have enough energy to be a more consistent presence against the pass; it should be noted that Allen collected 6 1/2 sacks in the Vikings' final five games last season, after scuffling through the first part of the season.
New Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said in a Pro Football Talk interview on Tuesday that he sees a way that Allen could still return to the Vikings, but it would likely be in the situational role that Allen could find with other teams. If that's the case, one would have to wonder what would keep Allen from signing with a team that's closer to a championship than the Vikings are. But what's next for Allen could depend on whether or not, like veteran pass-rushers Dwight Freeney and John Abraham before him, he's willing to accept less money to catch on with a new team.