Leslie Frazier says Jared Allen is aware of plan to reduce his snaps
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MANKATO, Minn. - Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier seemed amused after Thursday's practice when he was asked about Jared Allen's reaction to potentially having his snaps limited a bit in 2012 in order to keep him fresh.
The Pro Bowl defensive end, who played 94.5 percent of the Vikings' defensive snaps last season, said Wednesday the coaches hadn't talked to him about cutting back on his playing time and made it clear he wasn't a fan of the idea.
"Believe me, we've talked about this subject a number of times," Frazier said, laughing. "So contrary to what Mr. Allen has to say, we've talked about this subject. We're going to try to keep our guys fresh, we want him fresh, he knows it. We talked about it even this morning.
"We always go into it every season talking about we're going to cut his reps down and low and behold at the end of the season it doesn't always work that way. But he understands why we want to do it. He knows the importance of it. We're going to try to keep him fresh. We're going into it with the same intentions we had last season, but we'll see how the season goes and how our games go."
Frazier and new defensive coordinator Alan Williams have discussed using a hockey-like system with their linemen, rotating them in and out of games like a hockey team rotates lines in and out.
The issue is that Allen rarely wants to exit from a game.
"My thing is I work so hard in the offseason to get in the best shape that I can, my theory always has been, 'You want to rest me, rest me during the week because I get paid to play on Sundays,'" said Allen, whose 22 sacks in 2011 placed him a half-sack short of tying Michael Strahan's single-season record set in 2001. "That's when I'm out there to make plays. I feel like if I'm on the field, I can make a play to help our team win."
Frazier also chuckled when asked about the possibility resting Allen during the week.
"He doesn't want to be rested during the week," Frazier said. "We're going to play him, but we are going to try to get him off the field when we can and make sure he's fresh in those key moments. It does a disservice to him and our team if we play him every snap and then we need him in key situations and he's fatigued. It's just not smart.
"So we're going to try to manage that. I thought we did a pretty good job of it at times a (few) seasons ago, but we need to do more of it and we're going to make a concerted effort to try to get him off the field at times. Without hurting the team, we don't want to hurt the team. He's our best pass rusher and one of the best in the NFL."
So what's a realistic amount of snaps to take away from one of the NFL's best pass rushers?
"We have an idea of what we think is going to be good, but some of it depends on the game and what the flow of the game is," Frazier said. "We have an idea of what we think is a good number, but it also depends on who we end up having as his backup. So there are a couple things we need to find out here in training camp and the preseason as well that will determine the exact number we want to target each game."