Jared Allen hoping to join four Vikings defensive linemen in hall of fame
Allen is looking to join former Minnesota defensive linemen Alan Page, Carl Eller, John Randle and Chris Doleman in the hall.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Vikings have four defensive linemen in the Pro Football Hall Fame. On Thursday night, Jared Allen could become the fifth.
At NFL Honors in Phoenix, five of 15 modern-era finalists will be announced as new members elected to the Canton, Ohio, shrine. In addition, three seniors finalists and one coach/contributor finalist are likely to join them.
Allen played in the NFL from 2004-15, including 2008-13 with the Vikings. He is a modern-era finalist for the third straight year, and is looking to join former Minnesota defensive linemen Alan Page, Carl Eller, John Randle and Chris Doleman in the hall.
“My fingers are crossed,” said Kevin Williams, a defensive tackle who starred alongside Allen in Minnesota. “Hopefully, the third time’s a charm. I’m rooting for him. He deserves to be in. I didn’t figure it would take him a couple of tries to get in, but you never know what those voters are thinking.”
To make the hall, Allen needs 80% of the votes from the 49-person selection committee, which cast ballots last month. The other 14 modern-era finalists are tackles Willie Anderson and Joe Thomas; defensive backs Ronde Barber, Albert Lewis, Darrelle Revis and Darren Woodson; edge rushers Dwight Freeney and DeMarcus Ware; kick returner Devin Hester; wide receivers Torry Holt, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne, and linebackers Zach Thomas and Patrick Willis.
Also needing to get 80% of the votes to be enshrined are senior finalists Chuck Howley, Joe Klecko and Ken Riley and coach/contributor Don Coryell. All are voted upon individually and are likely to be elected.
Also at NFL Honors, held three days before Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Ariz., the league will announce its annual award winners. Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is one of five finalists for Most Valuable Player and among three finalists for NFL Offensive Player of the Year in voting conducted for The Associated Press. Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is expected to be named MVP, but Jefferson is considered a very strong candidate for Offensive Player of the Year.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is among eight finalists for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, and wide receiver Adam Thielen is up for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. Thielen is one of 32 nominees, one from each team.
Schmitz picks Sirles
Heading into the April 27-29 draft, University of Minnesota star center John Michael Schmitz is being represented by agent Jeremiah Sirles.
Sirles was an NFL offensive lineman from 2014-18, including 2015-17 with the Vikings. He became a certified agent earlier this decade.
“It’s special to have an O-lineman being an agent, especially him being just retired,” Schmitz said. “He knows what’s going on. It’s nice to have a mentor right there.”
Schmitz is considered by many to be the top center prospect in the draft, and could be a first-round pick. However, he said he’s “not really worried” about where he might be selected.
Schmitz also shrugged off the possibility of being drafted by the Vikings, who could need a center with 2022 starter Garrett Bradbury and backup Austin Schlottmann both headed for free agency. Schmitz has met Bradbury, and gotten some pointers about playing center. During his Golden Gophers career, Schmitz said he went to about four Vikings games, including their 31-24 playoff loss last month to the New York Giants.
“It was electric,” Schmitz said. “Those are some great fans. (Some) of the best fans there are.”
Schmitz was among four former Gophers players announced Wednesday as attendees for the NFL scouting combine, to be held March 2-5 in Indianapolis. He said he is using the pre-draft process to “show scouts that I’m one of the top interior lineman in this draft.”
Also among the 319 players invited to the combine were Minnesota Duluth offensive lineman Brent Laing and Northwestern running back Evan Hull, a native of Maple Grove. Hull, who carried 10 times for 74 yards last Saturday in the Senior Bowl, hopes to impress in the 40-yard dash.
“I want to show scouts that I’m going to run that 4.4, maybe run that 4.3 at the combine,” he said. “My best 40 that I’ve run in training is a 4.46. I believe I can get that down to like a 4.38, 4.39.”
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