The Vikings and Chiefs are definitely talking about Jared Allen. The latest report, from ESPN’s Michael Smith, has the Vikings as the front-runners over Tampa Bay. Smith says Tampa is so far only willing to offer a first and a fifth, while the Vikings have offered this year’s first and next year’s second. The Chiefs are believed to be holding out for a 2008 first and second.
Are a first and a second too much to give up for Allen? It depends on whether you believe he can really put the Vikes’ defense over-the-top. I’d be leery about going beyond a first and a third. Don’t know how the Chiefs would feel about taking a player in the deal too, maybe Ray Edwards.
The thing you have to decide is: Are the Vikings a legitimate contender this year? If the answer is yes, then I say you pursue Allen aggressively. Go for broke. Take advantage of the good veteran players on defense and your terrific running game and good veteran offensive line. And hope to hell Tarvaris Jackson is really ready.
If you still think the team is a year away from being truly serious contenders, then I don’t know if you make this deal. Yes, you would be signing Allen to a long-term contract, but still…to give up that many draft picks when you’re not sure you’re ready to make a run? We tried that kind of thing once with Herschel Walker(s) and we all know what happened. I’d be hesitant to mortgage the future that way again. Especially with Allen’s personal history. Be a shame to sign a guy to a huge deal and get burned.
Then again, talents like this don’t become available very often. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. At some point you just have to roll the dice and see what happens. I’m glad I’m not the one who has to make this decision. And man…can you imagine the heat that will come down on the organization if Allen goes to Tampa instead and has a huge year? Plus, what are we really talking about getting with our first and second picks this year? A defensive end and probably a wide receiver. Allen solves your defensive end problem. And then you don’t get your receiver…but you already signed Bernard Berrian. I can just about talk myself into pulling the trigger on this.
Then of course there’s the little matter of paying Allen. He’s going to want Dwight Freeney money, which puts it in the neighborhood of $72 million over 6 years, with $30 million guaranteed. The Steve Hutchinson signing showed that the Vikes are not shy about giving out huge contracts. And we know they have cap space. And Zygi Wilf has said that money is no object. I have to believe that the money is actually the least of the Vikings’ concerns right now, behind the danger of coughing up draft picks, and worries about Allen’s personal life.