The Washington Post

Vikings defensive player to watch: DE Jared Allen

Jared Allen chases Colts rookie QB Andrew Luck (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

How he beats you: Allen is off to a slow start by his standards this season, with three sacks in the Vikings’ first five games. But he remains one of the sport’s most feared pass rushers.

He had 22 sacks last season, just a half-sack shy of Michael Strahan’s single-season NFL record. His 108 sacks since he entered the league with the Chiefs in 2004 are the most in the league over that span.

He can disrupt an offense in a variety of ways. He has five career interception and has forced 27 fumbles, including four last season and one this season. He has four career tackles that resulted in safeties, matching the NFL record.

“He’s a very good pass rusher,” said Redskins safety Madieu Williams, a Vikings teammate of Allen’s for three seasons. “He has a very good first step and his acceleration off that first step makes him very dangerous.”

How to stop him: Allen usually lines up at right end. That will generally put him across from Redskins left tackle Trent Williams, the team’s top offensive lineman.

It means that Williams will have faced the league’s two active sack leaders, Atlanta’s John Abraham and Allen, in consecutive weeks. He held Abraham, the active sacks leader, without a sack in the Redskins’ loss to the Falcons Sunday.

The Redskins hope Williams can be similarly reliable this weekend.

“You just have to find a way to slow him down, especially in a passing situation,” Madieu Williams said. “He does a good job of knowing when there’s a passing down by being a student of the game. I think it’s just finding a way to slow him down from getting to the quarterback.”


Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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