Jared Allen has 'no beefs' with Vikings as he enters last year of deal
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Jared Allen isn't ruling out the possibility of talking about a contract extension with the Minnesota Vikings this fall if his body and production rebound from a season impacted by injuries.
But Allen strongly suggested after watching Wednesday's organized team activity practice at Winter Park he'd prefer to focus on football once the season starts and he begins collecting nearly $1 million a game.
"Then everybody comes to the table at the same place," Allen said. "A lot of guys try to get more money before (the deal's up). Hey, I signed a contract for six years. They signed a contract for six years. It's very, very rare when both sides honor that. A lot of guys get let go in the last year or restructure in the last year. A lot guys ... they play one good year and they want to re-up.
"For me, this is the commitment I made -- let me honor that. They want to honor it. So, that's great. For me, I've got no beefs, no quarrels, no nothing with it."
Allen, 31, is due to make $14,280,612 in base salary for 2013 with a cap number of $17,063,961 -- both easily the highest on the team in the last year of a six-year, $73.5 million contract he signed after the Vikings acquired him in a trade from Kansas City in April 2008.
He has said he wouldn't consider taking a pay cut as teammates Kevin Williams, John Carlson and Charlie Johnson did this offseason, even though the free-agent market hasn't exactly been robust for veteran players, including proven pass-rushers.
"You've got guys like Dwight Freeney, he (was) looking for a job" before signing a two-year, $8.75 million contract with Denver last month, Allen said. "John Abraham, he had a 10-sack year and he's struggling (to find a job). But teams also, I understand, need to look at the longevity of what you can get.
"Both those guys are both 13, 14 years in, so you've got to start looking at that. I think a lot of it is a numbers game, too. What's their production? How can they help our team win? It's just like anything -- they're trying to get us for the cheapest and everybody on the other side is trying to get as much money as they possibly can, right? I don't tend to worry about everybody else."
Allen said he feels "great, honestly" after undergoing surgery on Jan. 31 to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder and a cleanup procedure on one of his knees. Coach Leslie Frazier said on Wednesday that Allen won't practice until training camp begins in late July but there are no concerns about his health going forward.
He registered 12 sacks in 2012 -- his sixth consecutive season in double figures -- but admittedly didn't feel like himself because of the shoulder. He said on Wednesday he "hadn't slept for two years" since suffering the injury around the middle of the 2011 season until a couple of months after the pain subsided following surgery.
"Just trying to build strength up right now," Allen said. "Personally, I feel 97% flexible and all that stuff. I can do all my exercises and go about that stuff. Just trying to get strong, right about where I'd typically be during offseason stuff. Doing what (head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman) tells me to do. ... It's nice to feel I have complete use of my body again."
And when it comes to the contract, Allen reiterated the Vikings "haven't talked one iota about it" -- which seems fine by him. He praised the team for its transparency through the process and emphasized the strength of his relationships with general manager Rick Spielman, vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski, coach Leslie Frazier and owner Zygi Wilf.
Asked specifically if he'd listen should the Vikings approach him with an offer during the season, Allen said, "It all depends. I can't say yes. I can't say no."
That might be because Allen is as curious as anyone about his ability to return to form after the first surgeries he has undergone since childhood. He's even growing back his trademark mullet haircut, perhaps in hopes of recapturing some of his youth in what could be his last season in Minnesota.
"Would I have loved to have something done a few years back? Yeah," Allen said. "But whatever God's plan for me, it's God's plan for me. It's a business. I feel I have plenty of good football left in me. That's a decision and we'll sit down and make it when the time is right.
"When I say things like 'restructure' ... I'm excited I'm a part of an organization that doesn't ask me to do that. I don't worry about it. As long as you take care of what you have to take care of in between these white lines and aren't a complete idiot outside of them, the money will take care of itself."
Andrew Krammer contributed.