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Updated: December 28th, 2011 2:13pm
If Vikings switch to 3-4 defense, Jared Allen might be switching teams

If Vikings switch to 3-4 defense, Jared Allen might be switching teams

by Judd Zulgad
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - If the Minnesota Vikings decide to switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme in 2012, veteran Jared Allen might be looking for a new place to play.

Allen made it clear Wednesday that he's very happy playing defensive end in a 4-3 scheme and has little interest in being moved to linebacker.

"(Defensive end is) where I've made my mark," said Allen, who has an NFL-leading 18.5 sacks this season and was elected to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday. "I like what I play, I like what I do, I like that art form."

The Vikings are expected to dismiss defensive coordinator Fred Pagac after this season and there have been internal discussions about various moves with the defense. One includes going to a 3-4 look.

The Vikings are known to value Allen's opinion. He said to date he hasn't been approached about any potential changes.

"They've been so good to me here I don't think they would do it without talking to me," Allen said. "I want to end my career as a defensive end. And I'm not playing a 2-gap, let me just throw that out the window now.

"(Going to a 3-4) is something that will be addressed if and when it happens. I know that we have enough mutual respect for each other that they would at least give me a head's up and give me an option of what I would want to do. I don't see that in the future."

Allen acknowledged that playing the outside linebacker in a 3-4 isn't a bad thing but he's about to complete his eighth NFL season and will turn 30 in April.

"I think if I was halfway through my career then that's something different," he said. "Or maybe they can lobby and just leave me out as a defensive end. That's where I've made my mark.

"You take a guy like (Dallas') DeMarcus Ware, who could easily play with his hand down every snap and you put him at a position to be matched up on a running back one-on-one. I mean some great things happen. I'm more of a traditionalist. I like the concept of a defensive end being a traditional defensive end and playing that position."

Ware, who plays an outside linebacker spot in the Cowboys' 3-4 scheme, is tied with Philadelphia defensive end Jason Babin for second in the NFL with 18 sacks.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Jared Allen