|ESPN.com: NFC North||[Print without images]|
MINNEAPOLIS -- On Wednesday, Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen offered up the news that he has a third-degree sprain of his right shoulder and that, internally, the Vikings had ruled him out of Sunday's game against Green Bay.
We wondered if Allen was merely loose-lipped or if there was a hidden agenda behind the revelation. Later that day, Minnesota coach Brad Childress wouldn't confirm or deny the degree of Allen's injury, but admitted it was a significant ailment.
Ultimately, I believed Allen and did not think he would play Sunday -- especially after the Vikings categorized him as "doubtful" for the game. But Allen, who has missed only one game in his five-year NFL career, will wear a harness and see if he can have an impact on this critical division game.
Allen hasn't had much luck in his career against Packers left tackle Chad Clifton -- even when he's healthy. (Allen has a half-sack against Clifton). So I'm not sure how much to expect from him with one arm. Perhaps the Vikings will swap Allen with left end Ray Edwards to give themselves another look. But if you didn't understand how important this game is to the Vikings, you'll know when you see Willis Reed, er, Allen, walk onto the field for pregame introductions.