Here in Eden Praire, Minn., the big story of the Vikings OTAs was that rehabbing stars Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin put on a show racing each other. More on that later. But the most surprising story?
That was that cornerback Asher Allen decided to retire. At just 24 years old, Allen is calling it quits. Coach Leslie Frazier announced the news, saying it wasn’t for health reasons. It was just what Allen wanted.
“I didn’t see that coming,” Frazier said. “But everybody has to make decisions that are the best for their family. … He came in my office last Thursday, talked about it and informed me of what he wanted to do.“
After the OTAs, I spoke with GM Rick Spielman in his office. It’s an understatement to say he was surprised, too. Allen, of course was “definitely in the mix” for serious playing time, Spielman told me. But he sounded confident in what Minnesota did this offseason at cornerback, drafting Josh Robinson and signing Chris Carr and Zack Bowman.
“He decided that he did not want to play football anymore,” Spielman told me. “We signed some corners this year and felt we tried to upgrade and really focus on the back end of the defense with the drafting of the DBs that we did. Signing Carr, who can play inside and outside with Antoine Winfield, with getting Chris Cook back, and how he’s working. So, we were disappointed that (Allen) wanted to retire, but again, you don’t want a player out there who doesn’t want to play either.“
In the end, this is what Spielman was left with.
“You respect his wishes and wish him the best and we’ll move on,” he said.
Defensive backs are always at a premium, and the Vikings are no different. Remember, they went with an offensive lineman early in the draft instead of, say Morris Claiborne. But Spielman does sound confident. So, we’ll see…