Every day we'll take a look at one of the Minnesota Vikings heading for free agency, what he has meant to the team before and a prognosis on whether or not he'll be back with the club in 2014.
Free agent to be: Jared Allen
Position: Defensive end
Years in the league: 10
What he made last season: $17,063,956 (cap number); $14,280,612 (cash value)
What he did last season: Allen got off to a slow start, posting just five sacks in the Vikings' first 11 games, before rallying for 6.5 in the team's final five games to finish with his seventh-straight double-digit sack season. He ended the year with 11.5, and led the team after training Brian Robison for much of the year. But it was hard to watch Allen, particularly when games still mattered for the Vikings, and say his play hadn't dropped a bit.
His potential market value: Allen said toward the end of the season he'd retire before accepting a role as a situational pass rusher, and it's possible he'd find a team or two that would offer him a more significant role than that. But Allen slipped against the run last season, particularly when it looked like he was guessing on a pass play and trying to get upfield instead of staying home to defend a possible run. He clearly sees a situational role as a suggestion he's fallen off, but as he thinks about it, Allen might find such a role to his liking, considering he'd get to do what he does best (and enjoys most) without the extra wear and tear of playing additional snaps against the run.
Will he still fit the Vikings? Yes, but the question is, in what kind of role? Part of the reason Allen might be balking at a situational job is that such an assignment comes with a reduced salary. He'd still fit the Vikings in that kind of role, but if they were signing him for an every-down role -- and paying him accordingly -- Allen wouldn't make sense, especially when the Vikings would probably have to commit a multi-year deal to him and take money away from their other needs on defense.
What happens: Allen relents on his playing-time demands and signs with a contender as a situational pass rusher. Denver had expressed interest in him at the trade deadline last year, and could be a good landing spot for him.