(CBS Local)– Jared Allen was one of the best defensive lineman in the NFL for more than a decade and he had a memorable career with the Minnesota Vikings from 2008-2013. The 5x Pro Bowler was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings ever in 2010 and led the NFL in sacks twice during his career.
While the Vikings never made it to a Super Bowl with Allen leading the defense, the former All-Pro defensive end helped Minnesota win multiple NFC North crowns and make a deep playoff run in 2009. Allen’s time in Minnesota was defining on both a personal and professional level.
“I truly believe God put me in certain spots, with certain people, at certain times,” said Allen, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “I got to meet Brad Childress and the Minnesota organization and it took me to another level. I got into the locker room and people were married with kids and very tight. Coach Childress and I are still great friends today. For me, Minnesota was a life-changing spot. It was a place where I was in this growing up and maturing phase as a man. Minnesota was the right place at the right time that allowed me to excel at football.”
Some of Allen’s closest friends on the team at the time were Kevin and Pat Williams, Ryan Longwell and Ben Lieber and he credits those men with helping him grow on and off the field. In addition to those great talents, Allen also had the opportunity to share the field with people like Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson and he will never forget his time with the Hall of Famer quarterback and future Hall of Fame running back.
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“Minnesota holds a special place in my heart because so many great life moments happened there,” said Allen. “I met so many great people who were influential in my life. I will always be a Viking. I came in there and I was the NFL sack leader and all this expectation was on my shoulders. With Adrian, I’ve never seen an athlete or a human being that can move and operate like that guy. I would watch him eat three quarts of Coldstone Ice Cream at 3% body fat and run a 4.2 40. Brett came in and here is this generational type player. I watched the work ethic he put in and watched him be at the office until 10 p.m. at night. I watched him throw a backside slant without even looking. He just commanded the locker room and had individual relationships with everybody. It was amazing and something special and something you tell your grandkids about.”
Allen hopes the Vikings can turn things around this year and he says the team needs to find its identity again. Minnesota takes on Green Bay this Sunday and will try to get its second win of the season.