Jared Allen to return to Minnesota for Ring of Honor induction
MINNEAPOLIS — Former Vikings star defensive end Jared Allen will attend his first game Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. One day, he hopes to have his name displayed there in the Ring of Honor.
Allen played for the Vikings from 2008-13 before going to Chicago and Carolina and retiring after the 2015 season. He'll be here with his family for a noon kickoff against the Los Angeles Rams.
As a Viking, Allen made four of his five career Pro Bowls and earned three of his four career all-pro selections. Those would seem to be worthy credentials for the Ring of Honor.
"That would be phenomenal," Allen said. "It'd be great. That's other people's decision, but, yeah, that would be great to make it up there with all those other phenomenal players."
Allen returned with Chicago to play at Minnesota in a 2014 game at TCF Bank Stadium. That's the only home Vikings game he has been to since leaving the team. He visited U.S. Bank Stadium last May when he was briefly in the Twin Cities. The field was covered for an event, and he sent out a photo on Instagram with the caption, "Love the new stadium, but I think it could use some grass."
Allen plans to attend Sunday's game with his wife, Amy, and daughters Brinley, 6, and Lakelyn 3. The family recently moved from Scottsdale, Ariz., to Nashville, Tenn.
"It'll be fun," Allen said. "It'll be a good experience."
It's possible Allen will see Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen break his team record for consecutive games with a sack, a mark he shares with Jim Marshall. Griffen has a sack in eight straight but had to put the record chase on hold because of a foot injury when the Vikings won at Washington last Sunday.
Griffen was Allen's backup at right defensive end from 2010-13. The two have stayed in touch, and he's looking forward to seeing him Sunday.
"I always talk to Jared," Griffen said. "Jared's one of my biggest role models. I looked up to the dude. I was set behind him for four years and loved him to death."
Griffen signed a five-year, $42.5 million contract to take over Allen's starting spot in the spring of 2014. Soon after, Allen signed a three-year, $24 million deal with Chicago. Allen said the Vikings had interest in bringing him back as a free agent, but he wanted a team with a better quarterback situation.
"We had great conversations, and (the Vikings) offered me a decent amount of money to come back," Allen said. "But it was one of those deals where we didn't have a quarterback then and we didn't know who the quarterback was going to be, and I knew I was going to be retiring in a year or two and I wanted to go play and try to win."
Allen played with the Bears until being traded to Carolina midway through the 2015 season and reaching his only Super Bowl. The Panthers lost to Denver, 24-10, in Super Bowl 50 — Allen's final career game.
"It sucked losing, but you embrace it," he said. "It is what it is."
Allen officially concluded his 12-year NFL career by signing a one-day contract with the Vikings in April 2016 to retire as a Minnesota player. Since then, he's continued work with Jared Allen's Homes for Wounded Warriors. The foundation, founded in 2009, has built or remodeled eight homes for wounded veterans and nine are currently under construction in nine states.
Allen played in the NFL from 2004-15, spending his first four seasons with Kansas City. He ranks 11th on the all-time sack list with 136, making him a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame when first eligible in 2021.
"I passed a lot of hall of famers on the sack list," he said. "My resume is my resume, but they've got people that are voting, and that's in their hands. But it'd be a phenomenal honor."
The Vikings signed rookie safety Jack Tocho to the practice squad and released second-year guard Willie Beavers. Beavers, taken in the fourth round of the 2016 draft by Minnesota before being released at the start of the season, had been signed last week to the squad. This is the second stint on the squad this season for Tocho, taken by the Vikings in the seventh round of the draft last spring.
Defensive end Brian Robison is the Vikings' nominee for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, with the winner to be announced in February on the eve at the Super Bowl.
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