Were Jared Allen's comments veiled shots at the Vikings?
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Former Minnesota Viking Jared Allen has been apart of one playoff win in his 10-year career.
Allen, 32 in April, signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Chicago Bears, which included $15.5 million in guarnateed money (in the first two seasons) and can be voided down to a three-year, $24 million contract.
Though it's been a week since he signed with the Bears, Allen is already confident his new team can give him something the Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs didn't -- playoff success and a quarterback.
Less than two years after Allen landed in Minnesota, he was (take your pick) a fumble, an interception or a 12-men in the huddle penalty away from his first Super Bowl appearance as the Brett Favre-led Vikings lost in overtime to the eventual-champion New Orleans Saints in the 2009 NFC Championship game.
The Vikings have been downhill ever since. Allen's frustrations, as the team averaged six wins per season since 2009, mounted. That was no more apparent than in his final year in purple. Allen was apart of one of the league's worst defenses -- the NFL's worst scoring defense -- and was even caught on camera mouthing: 'This is the worst defense I've ever been on,' after the Green Bay Packers put on 44 points in a Sunday-night drubbing in October.
Since Favre, Allen has played on the opposite side of the ball with a carousel of Donovan McNabb, Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman. He's seen a playoff field once since then, on the back of Adrian Peterson, and lost in part to Joe Webb being under center.
Now he's putting what are likely his final NFL eggs in the Jay Cutler basket.
LM: Jared Allen: "It's a cool feeling when you go into an offseason knowing you have a chance to win."— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 31, 2014
It's easy to be optimistic in March. And Allen made it clear he doesn't consider the Bears as rebuilding, even though the Bears defensive ranks in total yardage (30th), scoring (31st) and run defense (32nd) were just as bad or worse than the Vikings last season.
Allen says it's not about the money, but about winning; even though he had spurned the Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks in favor of a more lucrative deal in Chicago.
"I wasn't just going to throw my cleats on and my pads on for a team that had no chance [or] are rebuilding in a point in your career where you're laying it on there," Allen said via ESPN. "I feel like I'm still the best at what I do."
Finding a franchise quarterback is the most difficult and most important key for NFL teams. Allen's comments can be taken as shots at his former team, but objectively they're just blind optimism.
That kind of feeling when you get a new girl or guy and think: "This can't be as bad as the last one!"
LM: Jared Allen: "I've got no ill feelings for the Vikings whatsoever. We both knew we were going in different directions."— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 31, 2014
In reality, Allen has as many playoff wins as his new quarterback in Cutler.
Outside of a 2010 NFC Championship appearance, the Bears have fluttered around mediocrity since their 2006 Super Bowl loss to the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts.
The Bears have been either .500 or one game away from it in 5 of the 7 seasons since their Super Bowl appearance, with the outlier being a 10-6 record and playoff miss in 2012 due to a tiebreaker loss to the Vikings.
Allen has legitimate gripes with the Vikings' quarterback situation since Favre's career ended in 2010. But it's foolish to think he won't be taking part in a rebuilding project -- it's just solely on his side of the ball now.