Rumors were swirling for awhile Tuesday afternoon of the Minnesota Vikings engaging in trade talks including Jared Allen. Numerous teams were looking to upgrade their defense, and with Allen in the last year of his contract and the Vikings yet to begin talks of an extension, it would have been beneficial for everyone if Allen had been traded.
The Vikings just recently locked up Brian Robison to a long-term deal, and with Everson Griffen performing well in a limited role, he should be given the starting right end spot next season after Allen departs. It would have been better for the Vikings to put Griffen in that role now, however, as it would give us all a look at what the defensive line will look and perform like next season.
The Vikings will get a compensatory pick in next year’s draft if Allen leaves via free agency. However, if the Vikings would have moved Allen now they would have likely gotten a late third-round pick along with a fourth or fifth, allowing them to draft more players in areas of need. The Vikings stand at 1-6 through eight weeks of NFL action, and unless they win out and get some good luck, their season is over meaning their focus should now be on what players will be in a big role next season.
Allen shouldn’t be one of those players coming back given he will be 32 years old when the 2014 season kicks off, and the Vikings have two very capable and younger defensive ends already on the roster. Yes Allen has played extremely well in his 10-year career and even came close to breaking the single-season sack record in 2011, but he clearly has begun his decline and would only be a burden for the Vikings going forward.
The money the Vikings would be giving Allen if they signed him to another contract is money that should be spent elsewhere in free agency, most importantly on defensive backs. The Vikings have one of the worst secondaries in the league, and even with Harrison Smith showing promise at the safety position when healthy, the Vikings desperately need to go after a top notch cornerback if they hope to compete in 2014.
The Vikings are also on pace to finish with one of the worst records in the NFL this season, meaning they will possibly be in position to draft the highly touted defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney is one of the best defensive prospects of all-time, and although the Vikings should be looking quarterback early in the draft, Clowney may just be too good to pass up if he falls to them on draft day.
It’s clear the Vikings have plenty of options going forward, but Allen doesn’t seem to fit into any of them which is the reason they should have traded him prior to Tuesday afternoon’s trade deadline. Management chose not to trade Allen, however, meaning fans get nine more games to watch him play before moving on next season.