Former Vikings star defensive end Jared Allen joked in September that he would love to be “an asterisk to Peyton Manning’s class” in the hall of fame.
And maybe he will be.
Allen was among the 25 modern-era player semifinalists named for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2021 on Tuesday. He was one of four players named in their first year of eligibility, along with Manning, a quarterback, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive back Charles Woodson.
Allen played in the NFL from 2004-15, including 2008-13 with the Vikings. With Minnesota, he earned three of his four first-team all-pro nods and four of his five Pro Bowl berths. He also played for Kansas City from 2004-07, Chicago from 2014-15 and Carolina in 2015.
Allen is 12th on the NFL career sack list with 136. That includes 22 with the Vikings in 2011, tied for the second-most in a season in league history.
“I think my career speaks for itself,” Allen told the Pioneer Press in September. “I think the writing’s on the wall, and absolutely I think I competed at a level that’s hall-of-fame caliber.”
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams, Allen’s longtime teammate in Minnesota, also was hopeful of making the hall of fame. However, Williams, who played in the NFL from 2003-15, was not named a semifinalist in his first year of eligibility. Williams had five all-pro nods and and made six Pro Bowls while playing for the Vikings from 2003-13.
“I think I have a good resume,” Williams told the Pioneer Press last December. “If you look at the D-tackles still out there throughout the years, I don’t think too many did the things that I did. … Would I love be in the hall of fame? Yes. I think I did enough.”
Allen and Williams did not immediately return messages Tuesday.
The other 21 semifinalists on the 2021 list are defensive backs Eric Allen, Ronde Barber, LeRoy Butler, Rodney Harrison, John Lynch and Darren Woodson; tackles Willie Anderson and Tony Boselli; linebackers Cornelius Bennett, Clay Matthews, Sam Mills, Zach Thomas and Patrick Willis; wide receivers Torry Holt, Hines Ward and Reggie Wayne; defensive linemen Richard Seymour and Bryant Young; running back Fred Taylor; guard Alan Faneca, and special-teams ace Steve Tasker.
Darren Woodson has said if he is inducted into the hall of fame that Vikings coach Mike Zimmer would be his presenter. Zimmer worked closely with Woodson as Dallas’ defensive backs coach in the 1990s.
The 25 semifinalists will be pared to 15 finalists in January, and they will be joined on the final ballot by coach nominee Tom Flores, contributor nominee Bill Nunn and senior player nominee Drew Pearson, a wide receiver. There will be between four and eight inductees elected to the hall of fame on Feb. 6, the eve of Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Fla.
Vikings protect DePaulo
The Vikings on Tuesday protected practice squad member Andrew DePaulo, in line to be the long snapper for a second straight game on Sunday against Carolina at U.S. Bank Stadium.
DePaulo was signed to the practice squad last Saturday after working out with the team, and was elevated to the roster for last Sunday’s 31-28 loss to Dallas. DePaulo had seven clean long snaps while the previous long snapper, Austin Cutting, was inactive for the game.
Cutting, who had bad snaps in each of the two previous games, remains on the roster. With DePaulo having just one more elevation from the practice squad permitted, the Vikings might have to make a decision by next week on their long snapper for the remainder of the season.