Jared Allen, who spent most of his career ransacking quarterbacks for the Minnesota Vikings, has been named as one of 15 Modern-Era Player Finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2021, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Tuesday night.
Allen is one of six players who is a finalist for the first time and one of four players to make the elite cut in his first year of eligibility.
Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, quarterback Peyton Manning and defensive back Charles Woodson are the other players who are finalists in their first year of eligibility.
Defensive back Ronde Barber and linebacker Clay Matthews, Jr., are also first-year finalists who have been eligible for induction in previous years.
View photos of Vikings Legend Jared Allen during his career with the team. He will be inducted into the 2022 Vikings Ring of Honor Class during halftime of the Week 8 Vikings-Cardinals game.
Allen started all 96 regular season games he played for the Vikings after Minnesota acquired him in a trade with Kansas City. He totaled 85.5 of his 136 career sacks while wearing Purple, which ranks as the sixth-most in franchise history.
Four of the five players with more sacks for the Vikings — Carl Eller (130), John Randle (114), Alan Page (108.5) and the late Chris Doleman (96.5) — have been enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
Many believe the other, Jim Marshall (127), has a strong case but has been overlooked by the Senior Committee in a process that is separate from Modern-Era selection.
Allen led the NFL in 2011 with 22 sacks, breaking Doleman's franchise record of 21 in 1989, and coming just shy of Michael Strahan's NFL record of 22.5 in 2001. Allen's total of 22 tied Mark Gastineau and has since been tied by Justin Houston for the second-most in a single season.
Minnesota's depleted defense totaled 23 sacks as a team in 2020.
He was more than a one-year wonder, recording no fewer than 11 sacks in any of his six seasons and posted back-to-back campaigns with 14.5 sacks from 2008-09, helping the Vikings make consecutive trips to the playoffs and reach the NFC Championship after the 2009 season.
Sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Allen's 136 career QB takedowns rank 12th in the official NFL record books (Doleman ranks fifth with 150.5, and Randle is tied for 10th with 137.5).
Over the course of 12 NFL seasons, Allen started 181 of the 187 games and recorded 171 tackles for loss, 32 forced fumbles and 19 fumble recoveries with the Chiefs, Vikings, Bears and Panthers.
The Hall of Fame's Selection Committee will meet virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic on Jan. 19 and elect up to five Modern-Era Players. A minimum vote of 80 percent is required for election.
Tom Flores is the finalist this year in the Coach category, Bill Nunn is the finalist in the Contributor category, and Drew Pearson is the finalist in the Senior category for the Class of 2021.
The Modern-Era Player Finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall of Fame's Selection Committee from a list of 130 nominees. An evaluation process of those players began in September, with the list being reduced to 25 Semifinalists on Nov. 24.
The following players are the 2021 Modern-Era Player finalists:
Jared Allen, Defensive End – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tony Boselli, Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (Injured Reserve)
LeRoy Butler, Safety – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers
Alan Faneca, Guard – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals
Torry Holt, Wide Receiver – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver – 2007-2015 Detroit Lions
John Lynch, Safety – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning, Quarterback – 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts (Injured Reserve 2011), 2012-15 Denver Broncos
Clay Matthews, Linebacker – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons
Sam Mills, Linebacker – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers
Richard Seymour, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders
Zach Thomas, Linebacker – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
Charles Woodson, Cornerback/Safety – 1998-2005, 2013-15 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers