Welcome to an incredibly special edition of Vikings.com's Monday Morning Mailbag.
With the Vikings bye falling in Week 7 and Jared Allen on his way to the Vikings Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony Sunday, this was the perfect time to have the colorful cowboy saddle up for some fan questions.
Note: Our regular format will return next week. Click here to submit a comment or question to the Mailbag. Please remember to include your name and town on the email. Although we can't post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.
Congratulations to Jared for his induction to the Vikings Ring of Honor.
Thanks for the great questions sent in by fans and to Jared for participating.
View photos from the summer of Vikings Legend Jared Allen reacting as the 2022 Ring of Honor inductee. He will be honored during halftime of the Vikings-Cardinals Week 8 game.
Which sack is your favorite? My personal favorite sack of yours was when you reached around the offensive lineman and grabbed the back of Eli Manning's jersey.
Since you attended the Culinary Academy what is your favorite meal to cook?
— Steve Baumbach
Oh yeah, I often forget about that one when I pulled guard on Eli Manning. That one was pretty awesome. I think my all-time favorite is probably my 22nd one in 2011, but you know, the one and only time I got Peyton Manning, I've got to say that was a pretty special one. It was my first sack in Minnesota.
I know it doesn't count, but in my very first preseason game with the Chiefs in 2004, I sacked Eli, too.
So, just so everybody knows, I didn't really attend the Culinary Academy, but I do like to cook. We love food in my family. I'd either have to say smoked baby back ribs, or I enjoy making a nice elk chili or a Bolognese. I made Bolognese the other day with fresh tomato sauce from the garden. It was pretty awesome. We try to make everything from scratch around our house.
My question for Jared Allen: Who is one legendary Vikings player you wish you could've played with?
— Kally Anderson
That's a tough one. There's a lot of them. I think it would be pretty cool to be on the opposite end of Chris Doleman, although we both kind of played the same side. Can you imagine if it was like, me, Kevin Williams, Johnny Randle, Pat Williams and Doleman, if that was our rotating line? That would be insane.
I've been bleeding purple since 2009 (for better or worse). I'm curious how it felt to have that amazing season in 2011 with your 22 sacks?!?!? What drove you to such success, and what was it like to be a part of a team that was fully magnetically charged with such talented performing players during the 2009-11 years? I lived in Minneapolis during those years and the city seemed electrified by the Vikings!
And, will we have any chance to see you in a larger space on one of the major networks as a broadcasting analyst? [Tony] Romo is great, but hearing you would be even better! Congratulations on the Ring of Honor, you by far have earned it! SKOL 💜💛💜💛
— Megan Boesen in Dallas, Texas
I'll answer that question in reverse. I don't think I'll be on any networks as an analyst, seeing how I turned them all down when I first came out of the NFL. It's the price of being irrelevant these days.
Second, yeah, when we were there, the city was electric, especially in '08, '09, even '10, which wasn't necessarily electric in a good way. In 2011, it was a crazy year because of so much personal success, but we were 3-13 and lost games that we had leads in and had injuries from a defensive standpoint. That was an interesting year.
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.
I tell people the difference between 2011 and previous years was that I just didn't miss. Coming off 2010 where people were running their mouths, I think I had 11 sacks that year and didn't make the Pro Bowl. People started talking all this nonsense, so I had a little extra chip on my shoulder to forget that year as a whole. Coaches were fired in 2010 and all that stuff, but the biggest thing is 2011 was one of those years where my body was fresh because we didn't have all of the offseason programming that usually goes into it, and it was just one of those years where you just don't miss.
Thanks so much for the congrats and compliments. I don't think they want an honest defensive perspective on the game. Besides, if Troy Aikman is getting in trouble by some of the comments he says, can you imagine the stir from what I would say with no filter? I'd drive people crazy with the things that would come out of my mouth.
I'd have to have a deal with the audience that you can't be offended.
I was at the game in Miami. Tons of Viking fans!! I was representing you with my authentic No. 69 jersey on full display, but what the hell? I counted only two others out of all the crowd.
Heck there were more Tarkenton jerseys!!!
I was shocked and very disappointed. I know offense sells jerseys, but you should have been better represented. You are THE MAN!! People loved mine!!
— Vin Murray in Jupiter, Florida (over 43 years of Vikings football under my belt)
Uh, I agree with you. That's just well said. I don't think I have a huge fan base in Miami. I don't think Miami was necessarily my scene. I know when I see things in Minnesota, I'm still pretty well-represented.
I actually got a photo the other day from the principal at my kids' school. He was in Minneapolis last weekend at the airport, and someone was rocking my jersey.
I appreciate it. I agree. Defenders get undersold by all this offensive nonsense.
Editor's Note: I believe I spotted Vin in his jersey from the press box in Miami.
Other than the love for the game and helping your teammates win, what kept your motivation so high? I loved your play.
— Steve Raduenz
Just constantly trying, I mean, my quest for greatness, right? The quest for perfection, knowing that you're never going to get that, but really, respect. I played for the respect of the people I played against, the respect of the people I played with, the respect of the people who played before me and the respect of the fans.
That meant the world to me, so I never wanted to ever, you hear people say I was a one-, two-trick pony. 'He was a fraud. He was this.'
My self-drive to try to chase down greatness was constantly my motivation.
Mr. Allen, what would you think about it if Vikings D-linemen do your famous calf roping schtick after every sack they get during the game that you are inducted into the Ring of Honor? Thanks,
They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I'd love it.
It looks like they got to the quarterback a couple of times in Miami.
My question for you, Jared Allen, is what did you like most about playing with the Vikings?
— Ali Florez
Everything. I loved Minnesota. It was a perfect fit for my time in my life, my career. Obviously the best thing is the relationships with the coaches, players and people in the front office that you form.
But for me, it was coming to a place knowing that each year you were going to be competitive. Not necessarily competitive in the division but competitive as a team. Our d-line room was constantly competitive, so I think that was a huge draw, knowing you had a chance every year.
Hey J.A., you were my favorite player as a teenager when I first started watching the Vikes. You were so fun to watch. And I'm very excited to see your R.O.H. Ceremony at the Vikes-Cards game! My question is, we've all seen your highlight reel which must contain many of your favorite memories while you've played, but I'd like to ask: what was your favorite moment during your career off the field?
— Dylan Myslicki in Minneapolis
Oh goodness, I'm thinking you are thinking football-related?
My favorite memory is going to be my wedding and my kids being born. Those are the greatest moments of my life.
Football-wise, away from the field, it's the time you spend in the training room playing Wii tennis with the guys, the camaraderie with guys in the training room. We called that our sanctuary, so I think those times, to me, are the fond memories, kind of the downtime you have in the locker room where you get to really be authentic. Everybody is authentic with each other. That's how you get to know people.
What is your best memory as a Viking? WE LOVE YOU!!!
— Cinbrella Saunders
My best memories are the whole compilation of being there, the highs and lows is what goes into it. That 2009 run was epic. The 2011 season was obviously epic for me personally, so I think you just look at the totality.
Every year, I can pick something that was phenomenal. In 2012, we go from 3-13 to 10-6 and make the playoffs, so I think for me, it's the totality of being there.
It's hard to choose one singular event just because they all added up to such a great six-year run.
As a player do you watch a game differently than the average fan? Do you focus on anything in particular?
— Tim Irwin (Vikings fan since 1972)
I actually just got this question from a friend of mine the other day.
Yes and no.
I don't watch a whole lot of football. Obviously, I'm drawn to the offensive and defensive line play, so I try and not overanalyze. I try to watch as a fan, but I think I'm able to pick up a lot of things, pick up on play calls and how defenses are playing certain things, so I probably watch the game from a more defensive-minded standpoint than the average fan, hoping the ball gets moved down the field.
I'm probably slightly different, but I try to just zone out and take it for what it is and for entertainment value.
I find myself looking at guys' stances, 'Oh, why are they doing that?'
I try not to be hypercritical, though.
Jared, I don't have a question. Just wanted to thank you for your great years with the Vikings! I have been a Vikings fan since the 1967 season, and we have had some awesome defensive ends over the years: Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, Chris Doleman, Danielle Hunter and yourself, of course.
I look at the list of defensive ends in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and they all deserve to be there, but in my opinion, so do you and Jim Marshall!
I became a Vikings fan in 1967 because quarterback Joe Kapp of the BC Lions and coach Bud Grant of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers joined the Vikings that year. God Bless from Canada!
Thank you so much.
Yeah, I agree with you.
It is funny how certain organizations just have a storied list of a type of player.
You look at the Chiefs, they have a tight end. They seem to have tight ends that roll through there.
You look at the Vikings d-line, and just this steady, consistent d-line play from the Vikings.
You can look at the Steelers and the linebacker play in that 3-4, that style of play.
It's funny how franchises are kind of glued to that.
Yeah, it's nice, obviously, I think Minnesota has a fantastic fan base, and to be part of that legendary accumulation of defensive linemen is awesome.
Because I don't live in the area, I don't do as good of a job of connecting with the younger guys, but I do appreciate the connections I made while I was playing.
I appreciate the talks that I got to have with Jim Marshall when I first got there. Even "Benchwarmer" Bob Lurtsema. With Alan Page, anytime I get to talk with or listen to him and Carl Eller, I think their presence kind of makes you realize the true lineage of what that is and what you're a part of.