The Minnesota Vikings didn't have a lot of high points last season as they struggled to a third overall draft pick following their 3-13 record on the year. There was at least one bright spot, however, as Jared Allen looked tremendous coming off the end as a pass rusher.
Allen nearly broke the NFL's sack record with 22 quarterback takedowns -- he was just half of a sack short of Michael Strahan's record -- but fell just short in the season's final game. He made up for it a bit, however, by being awarded the Sporting News' Defensive Player of the Year award.
Jared Allen was the best (and perhaps only) reason to show up for a Minnesota Vikings game during a hapless 3-13 season in 2011. Despite all the losing in Minnesota, Allen stayed focused on producing his best season ever at age 29, giving offensive linemen and quarterbacks fits in the process. With 22 sacks, the Vikings' end was just one shy of breaking Michael Strahan's NFL record of 22½, and a panel of 632 NFL players, coaches and executives chose him as Sporting News' defensive player of the year by two votes (113-111) over second-place DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys.
Congratulations to Mr. Allen ... now let's see if the NFL does the same with its Defensive Player of the Year award.