Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (69) stretches during training camp at Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
MANKATO, Minn. - There might not be any sport that focuses more on team than football, but individuals are often looking for something to inspire them to achieve greatness.
"I understand what (Adrian's) going for," Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said. "It is always a goal because you want to be the best. That's what drives us as competitors, to be the best at what we do."
Much has been made in the offseason about Adrian Peterson and his push to not just break the all-time rushing record held by Eric Dickerson, but to demolish it.
"I understand what Adrian is talking about when he says he thinks 2,500 yards isn't out of the realm," Allen said. "Because I don't think that 25 sacks is out of the realm of possibility."
For Allen, 2012 was a bit of struggle. A shoulder injury impacted his play on the field. He fell from 22 sacks in 2011 to just 12 last year.
Allen had surgery in the offseason to repair a torn labrum. He also had minor knee surgery. He will most definitely be healthier, but coach Leslie Frazier said that doesn't mean the sack total is going to go up.
"It doesn't necessarily equate to more sacks in the fact that he'll be healthier," Frazier explained. "All it means is people are still going to block him the same way, but he'll be a more effective football player."
Frazier said that in itself will be a huge boost for the team. As for Allen, just like Peterson, the motivation to be the best lingers despite Frazier's realistic take.
"I look back at the year that I had 22 (sacks), there were three games I didn't have one," Allen said. "You talk about the ones that slipped out of your hands or you hit the guy right as he was throwing it."
Allen admits that record is something he would love to own.
"Michael Strahan is the absolute, without a doubt, sack leader and yeah, I would love to knock him off that platform," Allen said.
But there is a "but."
"You don't go out of the scheme of what you are trying to do to win football games," Allen said. "But the individual goal is something that you always want. It's something you strive for. It's motivation in the offseason. It's motivation to work harder."
Hard work that ultimately helps the team whether a record is set or not.
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