Jared Allen made a spirited run at the NFL’s single-season sack record last season when he came up just short, finishing with 22 sacks.
It might be difficult for him to replicate that production again this season because the Minnesota Vikings are planning to more closely monitor the playing time of the veteran defensive end. Coach Leslie Frazier wants to rest Allen more to keep him fresh for critical pass-rushing situations and the fourth quarter of ballgames.
Allen was on the field for 94.3 percent of the Vikings’ defensive snaps in 2011 – getting off the field for only 61 of the team’s 1,065 plays. It doesn’t sound like that will happen again whether Allen is happy with it or not.
“We're going to make a concerted effort to try to get him off the field at times," Frazier said, according to Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “Without hurting the team. We don't want to hurt the team. He's our best pass rusher, one of the best in the NFL.:
If it sounds familiar, well, Frazier had the same game plan last season. It didn’t work. The problem is the Vikings don’t have much in the way of options when it comes to the pass rush. Allen is a one-man wrecking crew and he’s driven to be on the field for every snap. Still, if he played only 85 percent of the time, he’d be a little more fresh at key moments.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune