Cornerback Asher Allen informs Vikings he has decided to retire
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Minnesota Vikings cornerback Asher Allen has decided to retire from football, coach Leslie Frazier said Wednesday after his team went through a workout on the second day of Organized Team Activities at Winter Park.
Frazier said he was "surprised" by Allen's decision. Allen informed Frazier he was going to walk away from the sport last Thursday when the veteran came into the coach's office.
"I didn't see that coming," Frazier said. "But everybody has to make the decisions they think are best for them."
The Vikings officially announced that Allen was being placed on the reserve/retired list later Wednesday.
Frazier expects Allen will discuss the issue more at some point, adding, "He explained to me this is something that he wanted to do, he had given it a lot of thought."
Allen, 24, was a third-round pick of the Vikings in 2009 out of Georgia. He played in 12 games last season and started nine times as the Vikings dealt with injuries (Antoine Winfield) and off-the-field situations (Chris Cook) at corner.
Allen finishes his career with 134 tackles, four interceptions, 11 pass breakups and one sack in 36 games (21 starts).
Allen has dealt with concussions during his career and missed time last season after suffering one in December against New Orleans. He also suffered a concussion in November of 2010. Frazier said Allen did not tie his decision to the concussions.
Allen signed a four-year, $2.476 million contract in 2009 that included a $725,500 signing bonus. He was due to make a base salary of $615,000 this season in the final year of the deal.
The Vikings are expecting Cook and Winfield will be their starting cornerbacks this season. They also have added third-round pick Josh Robinson and free agents Chris Carr and Zackary Bowman this offseason.
"You have to keep looking like we would, even if he were here, to create competition and continue to upgrade that position," Frazier said when asked about losing the depth that Allen provided. "That's what we will do. We want depth, we want competition in the secondary and he definitely helped to provide that.
"But that opens up another spot. We'll continue to comb the waiver wire. I know that Rick (Spielman, the Vikings' general manager) and his staff are doing that. We'll try to see what we can have by training camp."
Linebacker Chad Greenway and defensive end Jared Allen are the only two players who are absent from the OTAs this week, according to Frazier. Frazier said that Greenway has a family matter. Frazier is hoping that Allen is at Winter Park next week.