Revisiting the 2008 Offseason

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 23, 2009 – 11:34 am

One of the subplots in this weekend’s Vikings-49ers matchup is the comparison between DEs Jared Allen and Justin Smith. If you remember, there were reports that the Vikings were pursuing Smith – who was a free agent after 7 seasons in Cincinnati – before they completed a trade with Kansas City to land Allen.

Before we go much further on this topic, it’s important to acknowledge that Smith is a different type of player than Allen. Although they both play DE and are both proficient pass rushers, Smith is considered more of a base end, while Allen is characterized as more of a pass-rushing end. Both players, however, are good at playing against both the run and the pass.

Going back to the offseason before the 2008 campaign, the Vikings were on a mission to bolster their defensive line with a pass-rushing presence. After tallying 43.5 sacks in those 7 seasons with the Bengals, Smith was one of the best options at DE on the market.

Smith was scheduled to meet with the 49ers and then reportedly fly to Minnesota to meet with the Vikings. He never got to Minnesota because San Francisco offered him a contract that he didn’t refuse.

Later in the offseason, the Vikings acquired Allen to accomplish their goal of bolstering the defensive line. Since becoming a Viking, Allen has recorded 15.5 sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl after last season, his 1st with the Vikings. Smith has been solid for the 49ers as well, putting up 7.0 sacks and registering 73 tackles for the 49ers as a DE in their 3-4 defensive scheme.

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