The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with former Vikings defensive end Jared Allen on a four-year contract that is worth a reported $32 million with $15.5 million guaranteed.
Allen visited the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks this month, but the Bears' interest was kept mostly under wraps.
"We are extremely happy for Jared, his wife Amy, our fans and the Chicago Bears that Jared has agreed to terms and will be joining the Bears family," general manager Phil Emery said in a statement. "This is another important step in our continued efforts to build our team towards a championship level."
Allen's six-year run with the Vikings came to end after he played out his massive contract that called for a $17 million cap hit in 2013. Allen produced 52 tackles and 11½ sacks for the Vikings last year, but the Vikings were willing to move on without him, instead signing Everson Griffen to a five-year, $42.5 million contract to replace Allen.
"I'd like to take a moment to thank my former teammates, coaches and the staff at the Minnesota Vikings for all of their inspiring work and dedication," Allen said in a statement. "Perhaps more importantly I would like to thank the fans and the Minnesota community. I can only hope that I have left with you all, with even a fraction of the positive support and impact you have had on my life, my foundation and my family. I am very excited about this next chapter in my career with the Chicago Bears and can't wait to see what the future holds for us. God bless."
Allen will replace Julius Peppers on the Bears' defensive line. Peppers signed with the Green Bay Packers in free agency.
"We're really excited about adding Jared to our football team," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "We know what his abilities bring to the table. Jared is certainly a very experienced player in the league. We believe he's going to come in hungry and excited to be part of our football team, and we believe he'll fit right in with the other new players that we've added and the guys that are already on the defensive side of the ball. I know that our defensive coaches are excited as well."
In 10 season with the Kansas City Chiefs and Vikings, Allen has 128½ sacks, the most by any player since he entered the league, and the 12th most in history.
He led the NFL in sacks in 2007 and 2011, including a 22-sack performance in 2011, when he came up just a half-sack shy of the single-season record.
Allen has been named to the Pro Bowl five times and has been voted first-team All-Pro four times. He averaged over 14 sacks in his six seasons with the Vikings and never missed a game.
"We wish Jared the best as he turns to the next chapter of his NFL career," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said in a statement. "Not only was he an outstanding player on the field for the Vikings over his six seasons, but he also helped change lives in our community through his charitable work. Jared will always be a fan favorite, and we hope he stays involved with the Vikings franchise in years to come."
In 157 career games, Allen compiled 558 tackles, five interceptions, 29 forced fumbles, 17 fumble recoveries, 51 passes broken up and four safeties, tied for the most in NFL history.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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