Vikings defensive end Jared Allen ranks 16th on the NFL’s all-time sack list with 117 for his career, a number that leaves him 83 shy of Bruce Smith’s record for most sacks in a career.
At 31, Allen is realistic about his chances of passing Smith. Allen acknowledges that the “numbers are tough” because he would have to stay healthy enough and active enough to rack up big sack totals for several more years. He’s more optimistic about the single-season sack record of 22.5 held by Michael Strahan, which Allen almost matched in 2011 when he dropped quarterbacks 22 times. Allen calls the record “absolutely reachable” and that he feels the best he’s felt in years after having shoulder and knee surgery this offseason.
“I don’t buy into ’30 and you’re old,'” Allen said, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “I feel it’s just like anything — it’s geared towards how you take care of your body, how you mentally prepare for the game and obviously having a coach that manages you well, too. But I do feel like I’m back there. I feel that’s where I’m at mentally, physically, and I feel like we have a team that can even make it better.”
With Adrian Peterson pushing for an NFL-record 2,500 rushing yards, there’s a lot of milestones in the air in Minnesota heading into this season. Neither record may wind up falling, but near misses on those fronts would likely leave the Vikings in good shape when it comes to their team goals. And it would leave Allen in spectacular shape heading into free agency.