Jared Allen may be hit with a pang of nostalgia when the Vikings and Chiefs face each other on Sunday afternoon.
The opposing teams represent 10 seasons of Allen's NFL career, and both hold a special place in his heart.
The former defensive end joined Mark Rosen for this week's episode of SKOL Stories in advance of the Week 9 contest that will take place at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. During the segment, Allen reminisced about being drafted in the fourth round by the Chiefs in 2004.
"We had an idea of where I [might go], and we knew a few teams that were going to be interested," said Allen, who hoped to be selected by a Chiefs team that finished the previous season 13-3.
"Their offense was very strong, they had some great pieces on defense, and I thought it would be a great place where I could [go], have an opportunity to play right away and learn a lot," he told Rosen. "It worked out perfectly."
Allen spent his first four seasons in Kansas City, during which he got to know American Football League founding father Lamar Hunt, who helped coordinate a 1970 merger between AFL and NFL teams, and learned from renowned coaches like Dick Vermeil and Gunther Cunningham.
He called former Chiefs defensive line coach Bob Karmelowicz "instrumental" to his career and also emphasized teammates who helped him develop as a player, including Hall of Fame tackle Willie Roaf.
"Willie used to beat up on me [at practice], so I figured, 'At some point if I can figure out a way to beat him, I can be pretty good in this league,' " Allen recalled.
And he did just that.
During his time with the Chiefs, Allen started 55 of 61 games played and racked up 43 sacks. He earned a reputation for wreaking havoc on opposing offenses, also recording 26 passes defensed, 14 forced fumbles and an interception.
Then, following a 2007 season that earned Allen All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors, Allen was traded to the Vikings in exchange for a first-round pick and two third-rounders.
"I actually had no plans of ever leaving Kansas City," Allen admitted. "But getting the opportunity to go from one great organization with the Chiefs to a great organization [like the Vikings], the Good Lord had a plan for me.
"I learned some tough life lessons down in Kansas City, which helped me to grow as a human being and a man and, obviously, as an NFL player. And to get the chance to go play in Minnesota with [Brad] Childress as the head coach, and [Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Rob Brzezinski, and [General Manager Rick Spielman] and [the Wilfs] really believing in me [was significant]," Allen added. "That was the biggest thing when I left Kansas City – I wanted to go to a team that wasn't going to hold my past against me and who believed in my skill set and believed in the man I had become. The Vikings were able to do that, and it ended up being a great marriage."
Allen explained that the Vikings willingness to make such a large trade "spoke volumes" to him and showed that they believed in him as a person as well as an athlete.
"I said, 'You guys put this faith in me; you're going to get all of me.' And that's what I gave the Vikings," Allen said.
He went on to play the best football of his career in Purple.
Over six seasons, he started 96 games and totaled 85.5 sacks for Minnesota, receiving four more Pro Bowl nods and being named All-Pro an additional three times.
A highlight of his time with the Vikings was the 2009 season. Minnesota signed former NFC rival Brett Favre, and Allen went from chasing Favre down to sharing a locker room with him.
He compared Favre's work ethic and approach to the game to Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez, whom he played with in Kansas City. While he acknowledged they both were naturally gifted, Allen also emphasized that "people don't see how much work [those two] put into their craft."
"That's another thing I picked up from Brett," Allen said. "Here is a guy that's a guaranteed Hall of Famer, best-ever type of guy, and he's still at the office at 10 o'clock at night putting work in. For me, that was just a constant motivator."
"It was one of the most fun years I've ever had playing football," he added of the 2009 Vikings, who advanced to the NFC Championship Game.
Now 10 years later, Allen is keeping tabs on the 2019 Vikings as they prepare to battle his other former team.
"They're gonna be hungry, I'll tell you that much," Allen said of the Chiefs, who have suffered all three of their losses this season at home. "[But] the Vikings are rolling."
He recalled game days at Arrowhead Stadium, pointing out how much history the venue holds.
"I'd roll my window down right when I got to the parking lot; you could smell those coals burning. I mean, it's hard to focus on football sometimes when you know how good that food is in the parking lot," he laughed. "And then you've got the Vikings, another iconic team.
"U.S. Bank [Stadium] is slightly a step up from the Metrodome and the Met, but still the traditions [are hard to rival with] those Midwest, blue-collar teams. Both with just amazing fan bases," he continued. "It's going to be a fun, iconic clash."
To hear Allen's full interview with Rosen, tune in to tonight's episode of SKOL Stories at 6 p.m. on KFAN.