Chiefs trade Allen to Vikings
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen was traded from Kansas City to Minnesota in a blockbuster deal, making the Chiefs one of the major players in this weekend's NFL draft and the Vikings a serious contender in the NFC.
Kansas City gets Minnesota's first-round pick, No. 17 overall, and both of the Vikings' third-round selections, a person close to the negotiations said Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.
Allen, who had an NFL-best 15 1/2 sacks last season despite being suspended the first two games, agreed to terms on a six-year deal that includes $31 million in guaranteed money and could be worth more than $74 million if he reaches certain incentives, according to another person familiar with the deal. The contract will make Allen the highest paid defensive player in the league.
The person familiar with the deal spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The Kansas City Star was the first to report the trade.
Coming off an 8-8 season, the Vikings are paying a hefty price in a move they believe will vault them into contention in the wide-open NFC.
A pass-rushing defensive end became the team's top priority this season after Kenechi Udeze was diagnosed with leukemia and with fellow former first-rounder Erasmus James coming off a third major knee surgery. The Vikings weren't sure a gifted pass rusher like Florida's Derrick Harvey would be around at pick No. 17, so they went after a player who dominated them last season.
The Vikings played at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 3 last season, Allen's first game of the year after serving a two-game suspension for multiple DUI convictions. Allen had two sacks, eight tackles, two batted passes and a forced fumble in Kansas City's 13-10 victory.
The relentless rusher fills perhaps the lone weakness on a proud veteran defense. Minnesota ranked No. 1 against the run last year, but last against the pass primarily because opposing offenses abandoned the run and had all day to throw against a weak pass rush.
Ben Leber, Ray Edwards and Udeze tied for the team lead with just five sacks apiece, allowing offensive lines to double-team Pro Bowlers Kevin Williams and Pat Williams on nearly every play.
Now with Allen on the outside and the "Williams Wall" in the middle, things won't be so easy.
Just 26 and in his prime, the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Allen was a supplemental fourth-round pick by the Chiefs out of Idaho State in 2004. He quickly established himself as a top-flight pass-rusher, but also has a tendency to over-pursue and sometimes gets out of position on running plays.
Allen was recognized as the premier defensive player in NCAA Division I-AA as a senior, but fell to the fourth round because of character concerns. Allen says he has quit drinking, and another DUI arrest could bring with it a yearlong suspension.
The Chiefs designated Allen their franchise player this season, but Allen made it clear that he wanted no part of the team's massive rebuilding plan. He told the team that he wanted to play for a contender and was not interested in signing a long-term deal with a team that is embarking on a youth movement under coach Herm Edwards following a 4-12 season.
The bounty of picks obtained in the trade, and the cap space created by Allen's departure, could help expedite that process in Kansas City.
The Chiefs now have their own fifth overall selection to go with Minnesota's No. 17, six of the first 82 picks and 13 altogether in this weekend's draft.
In making the splashy move to cap a busy offseason in free agency, the Vikings are telling their fans that their time is now.
They shelled out more than $30 million in guaranteed money to get receiver Bernard Berrian, safety Madieu Williams and fullback Thomas Tapeh, then exceeded that number to make Allen the highest paid player in franchise history.
Minnesota has made the playoffs just one time in the last seven seasons, a stretch of futility that hasn't helped owner Zygi Wilf's efforts to secure public money for a new stadium.
With Brett Favre retired, the Chicago Bears losing more players than they gained following a 7-9 season and the typical dysfunction surrounding the Detroit Lions, the NFC North is there for the taking.
AP Sports Writer Doug Tucker in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.