Vikings’ Allen fined $25,000, but not suspended
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has been fined $25,000 for a recent spate of late hits, but he won’t be suspended.
He’s not planning to reduce his aggressiveness, either.
After his summons to NFL headquarters in New York on Tuesday, Allen returned to Winter Park to continue resting and rehabilitating his sprained right shoulder. He vowed his approach to pass rushing would not change, even though he’s been fined a total of $80,000 this season — over three separate levies — for what the league has deemed unacceptable contact during games.
"Not at all. I will play football the way I play football, and that’s the way it is," Allen said after Wednesday’s practice, in which he did not participate due to his injury. "I’m not a dirty player. I never have been. I play hard football, and that’s the bottom line."
Allen was accompanied at the meeting with league officials by his agent, Ken Harris; a representative from the NFL Players Association; Vikings vice president of operations and legal counsel Kevin Warren; and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was not present.
"I’m playing ball, so I guess it went well," Allen said. "I was able to get out there and see their point of view. They were able to see my point of view. They came to the determination that a suspension wasn’t necessary, and they assessed the fine that they thought. Obviously we argued for no fine, but I guess we met in the middle."
The league has been cracking down on the rough stuff this season more than ever. Allen was fined $50,000 for two late hits earlier this month on Houston quarterback Matt Schaub, one that injured his knee. The following week against Green Bay, Allen was called for roughing the passer after knocking down Aaron Rodgers. He was also fined $5,000 for a late hit in a game at Chicago in October.
But the Vikings have vigorously defended their sacks leader — he has eight — and argued that the speed at which he rushes makes it difficult to stop so suddenly.
Frazier’s presence at the meeting, Allen said, spoke volumes.
"When coach goes to bat for you, sticks up for you, it means a lot to you," Allen said. "And so I definitely think it helped, because they saw an organization that was standing behind me."
Coach Brad Childress declined to express an opinion on the punishment.
"You don’t get into fair. All you ever want is a forum to be able to express your thoughts," he said.
Childress, however, has staunchly supported his defensive linemen. He has likened their situation, being taught to rush as fast as they can but being strictly watched by the officials when they reach the quarterback, to a car approaching a stop light that goes from green to red without a yellow.
"Human beings are hard to stop on a dime," Childress said.
Former Vikings defensive lineman John Randle was at Winter Park on Wednesday, and he chimed in with a similar view.
"The game’s about contact, and if you want to protect your quarterback, keep him on the sideline," Randle said. "It’s 11 men. He’s part of the game. If you don’t believe that’s the right way, then maybe hopefully they can find a rule to totally change it, but until then it’s a game about contact and the quarterback’s live out there."