The Minnesota Vikings have received their money's worth from Jared Allen since trading for the defensive lineman in 2008 and giving him a six-year contract. Despite tallying 74 sacks in five seasons with the Vikings, Allen's time with the team could be coming to an end sooner rather than later, though, as it doesn't look as though he'll be with the team much longer.
Allen, 31, is set to receive a base salary over $14 million and will count $17 million against the salary cap for the Vikings in 2013. A huge amount, it would still be shocking if the team elected to part ways with the pass rush specialist in a contract year; however, another contract given to Allen would be an out-of-character move from Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, according to Judd Zulgad of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Christopher Gates of SB Nation's Daily Norseman agreed with that evaluation, as the team has several defensive lineman set to hit free agency in 2014:
Allen might be banking on a big year going into free agency next season in the hopes of getting one more big contract. However, as much as I like Jared Allen, he's going to turn 32 next off-season, and he almost certainly won't get the kind of money he's gotten during his tenure with Minnesota.
Along with Allen, Everson Griffen, Brian Robison, Lawrence Jackson, Kevin Williams and Fred Evans all have contracts expiring after the season, as well. While Allen won't earn the six-year, $73.3-million deal he received in 2008, his production will still warrant some interest and it's hard to imagine that the Vikings would be the ones willing to pay.
With 117 career sacks, Allen is five sacks behind John Abraham for the lead among active players, despite playing four seasons fewer than Abraham. Allen has also finished in the top 10 in sacks in each of the last six seasons, including 2012, despite a series of injuries that limited his production.
Allen doesn't expect a drop-off any time sooner either, as he told Dan Wiederer of the Minnesota Star Tribune that he's looking forward to doing well with a contract on the line:
"I kind of feel like I hold all the cards in that aspect," Allen said. "And if it doesn't work out with the Vikings, I'm not too worried that I won't be able to find a job, ya know?"
However, even with Allen's strong production as a pass rusher, the Vikings pass defense has ranked in the bottom 10 of the NFL in each of the last two seasons. Considering the price tag for Allen that will take up roughly one sixth of the team's salary cap in 2013, the Vikings may be more inclined to use the money elsewhere, as Spielman has valued youth during his tenure as GM.