MINNEAPOLIS -- Former defensive end Jared Allen showed up at Minnesota Vikings training camp Friday assuming he was there to give a speech to the team. He left with the highest honor the franchise can bestow.
Allen will be inducted into the Vikings' Ring of Honor during a ceremony on Oct. 30, at halftime of their game against the Arizona Cardinals. Coach Kevin O'Connell surprised Allen with the news after Allen delivered his speech.
"He was a great player and great off the field as well," Vikings owner Mark Wilf said. "His support for military veterans is something we really feel strong about as well. It was great to have him here and great to have him in the Ring of Honor."
Allen, who will speak to reporters Saturday morning, in 2009 founded Homes For Wounded Warriors, a non-profit that raises money for and builds homes for injured U.S. veterans.
The Vikings acquired Allen in a blockbuster trade with the Kansas City Chiefs prior to the 2008 season. He played out all six seasons of the contract he signed at the time, amassing 85 sacks over that period, including a team-record 22 in 2011. In 12 NFL seasons with four teams, he totaled 136 career sacks.
His final season with the Vikings overlapped with the first season of current receiver Adam Thielen, who said he has always tried to emulate Allen's high energy.
"Whether that be in meetings, on the field, in the locker room, he brought it every single day," Thielen said. "He was a fun guy to be around because of the energy, always joking around, messing around, but when it was game time he was going."