Another Viking defender has landed on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players Countdown. Last week Chad Greenway came in at #70 and this week Jared Allen shows up at #60. Allen’s production dipped in 2012, thanks in part to some physical issues, but he still had a solid season notching 12 sacks.
We asked the question with Greenway so we have to ask it with Allen. Is this a legitimate selection? Does Jared Allen deserve to be considered one of the NFL’s 100 best players?
If you take the last few seasons together, there’s no question Jared deserves to be considered among the best pass rushing defensive ends in the league. And he’s also pretty good against the run and sometimes he even makes a big play dropping in coverage. And now and then he even long-snaps. And sometimes gets a shot in on Ray Edwards’ nads.
But that’s over the last few seasons. How about right now? Is Jared still in that near-elite category coming off a year where he was clearly slowed by injury? I guess that depends on how he recovers from the injury. He had shoulder surgery this offseason and is diligently rehabbing. There’s every reason to believe that, if Jared gets his body right, he can rebound from a somewhat off season.
Or maybe Jared is just past his prime and destined to see his production slip and slide more with each passing season. It’s a slippery slope for guys Jared’s age. Once you get that momentum going in one direction on a surface with not very much friction, you tend to just keep going right on into oblivion.
One thing I know for sure: Jared’s not getting close to 22 sacks again. That was an epic season for Allen. Everything fell just right. Expecting him to keep up that production was never realistic. 2012 was more than anything an adjustment back to the norm.
Bottom line: Maybe Jared is still a top 100 player but the arrow is definitely trending down. The only thing trending up with Jared is his bank account. Top 100 player or not, dude is making $17 million this season. And don’t even think of asking him to renegotiate. He will spear you in the butt like you were an elk.