P.J.R.: Sorry, Jim. Jared Allen goes on my all-time Vikings front four
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Jared Allen has signed with the Chicago Bears. This is more proof that the NFL can't avoid being interesting, no matter how many screw-ups there are with its workforce and no matter what idiotic action is taken by the league's major domos.
Among the bold moves made early in this week's owners meetings in Orlando was to pass a rule against players spiking the ball over the crossbar. Wow! There's a problem that has plagued the game.
We also had John Harbaugh, the coach of the Baltimore Ravens, saying in Orlando that he was "disturbed'' by the arrests that have occurred with his athletes in this offseason.
Really, coach? You find the video of your star running back, Ray Rice, dragging his fiancée out of an elevator after apparently knocking her out disturbing to watch?
Good for you.
And then amid the nonsense and the domestic violence, the Vikings allow Allen to walk, and the Bears allow Julius Peppers to walk, and Peppers winds up as a rare free-agent signing with Green Bay, and Allen on Wednesday signs as his replacement in Chicago, and the Vikings say, "Who cares? We're going to turn loose Everson Griffin,'' and the NFC Central has more grand storylines:
Peppers twice a year vs. the Bears, and Allen twice a year vs. the Vikings, and Griffen ready to proclaim his pending stardom.
The only questions are how much Peppers has left at 34 and Allen at 32 (in a week), and whether Griffen actually can be an effective, every-down player after his average effort in part-time duty last season?
And we can't wait for September to find out.
I know one thing: I'd bet on Griffen getting higher over the crossbar to dunk a fumble-recovered football than the old guys, if that still was tolerated behavior in the NFL.
The certainty of Allen's departure from the Vikings after this season had led to a discussion with some 1500ESPN colleagues as to whether he belongs on the first unit of the all-time team.
When I named such a team for the Minnesota Vikings history that was published five years ago, my front four was Alan Page (the greatest Vikings player of all-time, period) and John Randle at the tackles, and Carl Eller and Jim Marshall at the ends.
Chris Doleman's induction into the Hall of Fame in 2012 did not change that opinion. Now, despite my great appreciation for Marshall's longevity, leadership and steadiness, if I wanted to put my best team on the field, Jared Allen would be there as a pass rusher.
Here's my Vikings front four: Page, Randle, Eller and Allen.
And here are my backups: Marshall, Doleman, Keith Millard and Kevin Williams.
That is quite an eight-deep collection of rump kickers.
--PATRICK JAMES REUSSE.