Every season has been a good season for Jared Allen. Since entering the NFL in 2004 with the Kansas City Chiefs, no player has more sacks than Allen’s 105.0. He had 9.0 sacks as a rookie, and his season-low total is 7.5 (2006), a number most pass rushers are lucky to have as a season-high.
Last year was Allen’s most productive, as he pursued and came excruciatingly close to breaking the NFL single-season sack record of 22.5, set by Michael Strahan in 2002. He tallied 22.0 sacks, giving him 62.0 sacks since joining the Vikings in 2008 and also providing for him more motivation to chase the record again in 2012.
While Allen’s physical ability is superior to the opponents who try to block him, it’s his mentality that Allen credits for his recent success on the field. A part of Allen’s mental approach to football is training during the offseason in Arizona, a strategy he honed during last offseason’s lockout and a strategy he’s duplicating this offseason.
“I’m just trying to keep that routine the same,” Allen said. “Trying to get all the extra work in with my trainers, you know heck I’m even going up to the altitude up in Tahoe. I’m thirty now, so I got to do whatever I can to keep up with these young guys!”
Allen’s training regimen keeps him away from the team’s voluntary work during the offseason program and Organized Team Activities (OTAs), but based on Allen’s body of work over nine seasons it clearly works.
“I’ve got a great (training) team in Arizona,” Allen said when asked about not being at OTAs. “It’s kind of one of those things where if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Coach (Frazier) was great, he understood why. One thing, too, is my mindset last year was so good. I was in a great mental state, even though we weren’t winning. But things were just real positive and coming off of that 2010 season where there was just a bunch of negativity around here. That’s what I told coach, too, I’ve got my trainers, everything is focused in the right direction down here (in Arizona) and that’s where I’m trying to stay.”
Allen went on to acknowledge that the team relies on him for veteran leadership and that he takes that role seriously, particularly when the team is down in Mankato for training camp.
“The best way I can lead is by being the best player I can be on the field,” Allen explained, “and for me that’s having a full offseason with my trainers and coming back [with a fresh mind].”
As for this week’s minicamp, a three-day event that began on Tuesday and concludes Thursday, Allen said he was excited to be back around his teammates and focusing on football.
“It’s good to be back in town and try to get that offseason rust off or whatever,” Allen said. “I approach minicamp with the same mentality every year. I’ve got certain things I’m trying to work on…my stance, get-off and then you’re working on your block reaction. It’s a way to break up the offseason and get a little football in, and then get back to getting your mind ready for training camp.
“I’m excited to be here for minicamp. Get three days here laughing and joking, and then gear up for training camp when it really counts.”
Tags: Jared Allen, Minicamp
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