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Vikings' pass rush has Ravens' attention heading into Sunday

FootballPro FootballMinnesota VikingsBaltimore RavensJared AllenJohn Harbaugh

There are few aspects of the Minnesota Vikings' 30th-ranked defense that jump off the game film in any particularly positive way.

Veteran defensive end Jared Allen is a notable exception, along with bookend defensive end Brian Robison. They're two pass rushers very capable of getting after quarterbacks with their moves, speed and relentless approach. They've combined for a dozen sacks this season.

Heading into Sunday's game at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens are paying a lot of attention to them as well as defensive tackle Kevin Williams and defensive end Everson Griffen as they try to protect quarterback Joe Flacco.

"They pose a big challenge, particularly the two guys who lead their team in sacks with the bookends Robison and Jared Allen, who’s been a real formidable force in this league for a long time," offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "He’s still very, very active and very capable. Both of those guys, you have to block them and block them well. [Allen] is one of those guys that, he may not show up in the stat sheet a lot in terms of stats, but he disrupts things.

"He’s quick; he’s explosive. All three guys get off the ball extremely well. Not only that, they have a variety of moves to get to the passer. They are very, very good at their technique. They’re going to present quite a challenge for us.”

Allen has six sacks this season after recording 11 sacks last season and 22 sacks in 2011.

“They’ve got a bunch of talented pass rushers,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “Their front four is high motor. They get after it upfront. They run all the different stunts. They have a nice little pressure package. But their front four flat out gets after it. Those guys are great pass rushers.”

A 6-foot-6, 270-pounder, Allen has 123 career sacks with no less than 11 sacks per year in the past since the 2006 season when he was playing for the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Numbers don’t lie," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “He’s one of the best in the game.”

The Ravens allowed two sacks against the Pittsburgh Steelers with left offensive tackle Michael Oher beaten once by outside linebacker Jason Worilds and running back Ray Rice allowing another sack to Worilds. Left offensive tackle Eugene Monroe drew praise this week from Flacco.

Oher and Allen mixed it up during Oher's rookie season, getting into a bit of a war of words after Allen beat him for one sack during a 33-31 Vikings win in 2009.

“I don’t play against Oher, so I haven’t watched tape on him," Allen said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "Played against him his rookie year, athletic kid. Monroe, I played him last year when he was with Jacksonville. He’s got decent feet. From the film I’ve seen on him this year, he’s playing alright.

"From what I can remember playing him last year, he’s an athletic guy, pretty decent feet, and has the ability to recover. It’s going to be a tough test for us. Anytime you go to play the Super Bowl champions on the road, it’s not going to be an easy game, that’s for sure.”

Robison is known for his speed and has six sacks this season for a total of 22 1/2 sacks in the past three seasons.

“He’s very athletic," Allen said. "Brian has great potential, and I don’t think he’s had that big splash year to put him on everybody’s radar yet, but he’s definitely capable.

"He’s tremendously athletic. Smart kid, talented, and relatively young in his starting career. So, yeah, huge upside, good talent.”

awilson@baltsun.com
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FootballPro FootballMinnesota VikingsBaltimore RavensJared AllenJohn Harbaugh
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