Thu 10 Dec 2009
The Vikings 2009 Draft Class has already become one of the franchise’s best. 1st rounder Percy Harvin has been spectacular in the passing and return games, 2nd rounder Phil Loadholt has started all 12 games at right tackle and has done a solid job and 3rd round pick Asher Allen has stepped in during Antoine Winfield’s absence and more than held his own.
Inactive for the season’s first 6 games, Allen finally suited up for the Week 7 match-up at Pittsburgh. After picking up 3 tackles, a sack and forced fumble in his debut, the former Georgia star notched his first NFL interception against Seattle four weeks later.
Allen took some time out to discuss his rookie season, 40 yard dash time and snow with me at Winter Park late last week.
DZ: It’s been an eventful month or so for you. You got into your first game in Pittsburgh and a lot’s happened (since then). Could you talk a little about that?
ALLEN: Coming into this year, I was inactive a majority of the year and then this last month – like you said – I’ve been able to get out here and play and help the team. It’s been fun.
DZ: Your first game in Pittsburgh – a big stage, Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, the defending champions – were you kind of in awe at first going out there?
ALLEN: Just a little bit, just for the respect of the game. I was excited to play more than anything. These guys, they keep you level-headed and you know you’ve got to win the game.
DZ: You hate to see a guy like Antoine Winfield go down, but obviously that’s an opportunity for you. Is there any advice he gave your or is there anything you can learn watching a guy like that?
ALLEN: Yeah…It’s not necessarily anything he’s said, but watching him – how he plays, how he prepares and how he plays when he is in the game itself – that’s enough.
DZ: It seems like the corners here – Cedric Griffin and Antoine – you guys are maybe not the fastest on the 40s…
ALLEN: Oh no, oh no (laughs). I ran a 4.23 – check it out.
DZ: I stand corrected. You guys are known for coming up and making big hits and tackling. Is that something you’ve always taken pride in?
ALLEN: Yeah. I think it started with Antoine. He’s been known for it, I think Cedric Griffin does a great job also, coming in and making tackles. No matter what size you are, (it’s about) being a sure tackler. That’s what our defense prides itself in. That’s how we play defense.
DZ: Is the key staying low?
ALLEN: Staying low and staying focused. A lot of times, you got shifty guys around the whole league (and) you just make sure that when you make contact, you wrap up.
DZ: Going back to draft day, were you surprised that Minnesota selected you, had they been in contact with you much?
ALLEN: Yeah, we had contact with each other so that was one of the teams on the list. I was not really expecting it, but knew it was coming.
DZ: How much did you know about the state and the team?
ALLEN: I didn’t know that much. Actually – a funny story – when I got drafted, I had to google “Minnesota” to find out everything about it. I am about to get a real rude awakening – it’s about to get cold and this is my first time seeing snow and going through a snowy winter, so it will be fun.
See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Vikings players:
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