Prior to the 2008 season, the Vikings gave up a first round pick to bring in Jared Allen from Kansas City. The disruptive defensive end had just come off of his best year as a pro with the Chiefs with 15.5 sacks.
Since then, he hasn't missed a game with the Vikings and has continued his assault on NFL quarterbacks registering 74 sacks including 22 in 2011. He along with the Vikings defensive line enter a year where there could be a changing of the guard. Both Allen and veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams enter the final year of their contracts and with uncertainty ahead, Allen isn't worried about his deal. He is simply focusing on playing.
That is good news for Vikings fans.
Allen has made it clear that his contract situation is not going to interfere with the upcoming season and there is no reason to doubt him.
The irony in all of this is that Allen has plenty left in the tank, but with the top five defensive end slated to make over $17 million this season, keeping him around might be difficult.
Of the players on the current roster, only seven are older than 30 years old (Chad Greenway, Brian Robison, Allen, Joe Berger, Matt Cassel, Cullen Loeffler and Williams), and you need to look back to 2010 when the roster boasted 16 players 30 or older.
Of course, just because a player turns the corner at 30 doesn't automatically mean the wheels are going to come flying off.
The defensive line of Robison, Allen, Williams and Letroy Guion are a strength of the team and with the addition of Shariff Floyd to the Everson Griffen, George Johnson and Christian Ballard's, the roster appears to have some balance.
All told, the starters finished last year with 24.5 sacks and 143 total tackles. For a franchise that has always prided itself on stellar defensive lines, the depth should provide a solid foundation for the linebackers and secondary to make plays.
Back to Allen. With the Vikings apparently willing to let him play out his current contract without an extension, the leader of the defense who has gone to five straight Pro Bowls will likely wear different colors next season.
Leading into his final season on his current contract, Allen has said all the right things and has said he won't complain and just go about his business. Based on his history with the Vikings, there is little reason to doubt him.