Minnesota Vikings legend Jared Allen is one step closer to realizing his dream of football immortality.
Allen, who played 12 years in the NFL and six seasons with the Vikings, totaling 136 sacks as the league’s 12th all-time leader, was named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The 2021 class is brimming with world talents like Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson and Charles Woodson. Allen? He’s just happy to be along for the ride.
“I’ve been saying the whole time that I’d love to be an asterisk to Peyton Manning’s class,” Allen told Pioneer Press reporter Chris Tomasson, admitting how much he’d like to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer with his contemporaries.
Other finalists include wide receivers Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne, defensive backs Charles Woodson, Leroy Butler, John Lynch and Ronde Barber, defensive tackle Richard Seymour, linebackers Zach Thomas, Clay Matthews and Sam Mills, tackle Tony Boselli and guard Alan Faneca.
Allen has played humble throughout the process but did show confidence that his body of work speaks for itself.
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Allen: ‘My Work is Done… Now It’s a Waiting Game’
Allen, who was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs and also played for the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers in his career earned five Pro Bowl nods and four first-team all-pro selections.
Four of his five Pro Bowls and three of his all-pro seasons came in Minnesota, where he tallied 85.5 sacks. The most coveted season of his career came in 2011 when Allen totaled 22 sacks — the second-highest single-season sack total in NFL history behind only New York Giants Hall of Famer Michael Strahan’s 22.5 sacks in 2001.
Where Allen Ranks in Vikings History
Allen’s career would be enough to top most franchise leaderboards, but the Vikings have been graced with strong pass rushers throughout franchise history.
Allen’s 88.5 sacks rank sixth in Vikings history behind Carl Eller (130 with Vikings, 200 total), Jim Marshall (127 total), John Randle (114 with Vikings, 137.5 total), Alan Page (108.5 with Vikings, 173 total) and Chris Doleman (96.5 with Vikings, 150.5 total). Every player ahead of Allen has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame aside from Marshall, which continues to be a point of contention.
The 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class will be announced Feb. 6 on the eve of Super Bowl 55. The hall of fame committee will have to narrow the 15-man finalist class between four and eight inductees. Inductees must receive 75% of the vote.
Allen’s exuberance about becoming a finalist has shown throughout the selection process and, come February, he may be rewarded once again for an illustrious career.
“I feel awesome about it,” Allen said. “How can you not feel awesome about it? If God willing, they put me in, it will be one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.”
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.