Sports Xchange, Published June 05 2013
Allen reports to Vikings workoutsEDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Defensive lineman Jared Allen, the only player who didn't attend the Minnesota Vikings first week of organized team activities, is now present and accounted for -- and quite happy at more than $14.2 million for this season - during the second week of OTAs.
"Everybody's working hard," Allen said. "They're flying around here at a fast tempo. It's just fun to see everybody and see the demeanor, especially the new guys. We had three first-round picks. We're going to count on them to make some plays for us, so it's good to see everybody out there working and starting to get that camaraderie."
Allen, who had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, is still rehabilitating and is not practicing this week. He probably won't be back on the practice field until training camp, but says he's doing well and is happy to have his left shoulder pain-free for the first time since the 2011 season.
"Just trying to build strength up right now," said Allen, who also had arthroscopic knee surgery as well this offseason. "Personally, I feel 97 percent flexible and all that stuff. I can do all my exercises and go about that stuff. Just trying to get strong, right about where I'd typically be during offseason stuff. Doing what (head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman) tells me to do. It's nice to feel I have complete use of my body again."
Naturally, Allen's contract status came up during his interview with the local media. The 31-year-old right defensive end is in the final year of a six-year, $73.5 deal his signed when the Vikings acquired him in a trade with the Chiefs in 2008. He is due to make more than $14.2 million this season and has a cap number of $17 million.
Allen said he would have liked to have done an extension a year or two ago. But he's not complaining when he looks around the league and his own locker room at older players who have been asked to take pay cuts.
Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams was due to make $7.5 million this year, but agreed to a restructured deal that cut his pay to a guaranteed $4.9 million and voided the final year of a contract that had two more years left.
"Hey, I signed a contract for six years; (the Vikings) signed a contract for six years," Allen said. "It's very, very rare when both sides honor that. A lot of guys get let go in the last year or restructure in the last year. A lot guys ... they play one good year and they want to re-up.
"For me, this is the commitment I made - let me honor that. They want to honor it. So, that's great. For me, I've got no beefs, no quarrels, no nothing with it."
Despite playing with a bum shoulder through all of last season, Allen still had 12 sacks. Of course, that was 10 below his franchise record and near NFL record from the year before. What this year brings from a now-healthy-but-older Allen remains to be seen. Even Allen can't predict what he'd say to the Vikings if they approach him during the season about extending his contract.
"It all depends," he said. "I can't say yes. I can't say no. But we're in football time right now, so my worry, like I've said in every interview I've done, my first responsibility to this team and myself is to make sure I'm healthy, is to make sure I'm on top of my rehab to make sure I can come back in the greatest shape I can be in. And then make sure when I get back on the field, you're dominating people and you're performing at a level that I expect to perform at. That's my one priority."