If it seems like we've been doing an overabundance of Jared Allen stories the past few days, it's because. . .well, we have been. He was one of the few Vikings that had a great season in 2011, and he's making news this off-season as well. Today, he has been given a very unique honor, courtesy of ESPN and a panel of 20 current National Football League Hall of Famers.
Today, Allen was named to ESPN's "Any Era" team, a group of 20 current players that "would have thrived in the years before television helped make football a secular religion and the nation's favorite pastime." The Any Era team is going to consist of 20 players, with ESPN rolling out four players a day until their team is complete.
Allen comes in at #16 on ESPN's list. Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton, one of the members of the ESPN panel, had this to say about him.
The most impressive thing I saw Jared Allen do this year -- he rushes the passer, yes. And he's a great run-stopper. He had 66 tackles and 22 sacks. But the most impressive thing is he filled in as the long-snapper this season. The long-snapper went down, Jared Allen filled in, and he's covering punts and he's running down there a million miles an hour. That says to me: football player. You transport him back to the '60s, Jared Allen could have played anywhere up and down that line. And that calf-roping thing, I love that, too.
The man is a bad ass, regardless of how you slice it. He definitely could have played years ago and, as Lofton says, he wouldn't necessarily have had to be a defensive end. He could have a few different positions on the field.
The introduction to the "Any Era" team says that the Vikings landed two of the 20 spots on the squad. I'm going to go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out on a limb and assume that the other Viking that made it is a certain running back that we all know and love, but we'll know for sure by Friday.
The other players on the team that have been named thus far are Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos' quarterback Tim Tebow, Detroit Lions' defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Indianapolis Colts' defensive end Dwight Freeney, New York Jets' cornerback Darrelle Revis, Baltimore Ravens' running back Ray Rice, and Baltimore Ravens' safety Ed Reed.