Thank god for Jared Allen. When the guy isn't writing cookbooks, he's the heart and soul of the Vikings defense. Much like Adrian Peterson was to the offense before going out with an injured knee, Allen was the one undeniable star on defense, a relentless competitor with a sixth sense for finding the ball. Of course, what old Rodeo really seems to enjoy most is going after the passer, which explains why he came within half a sack of breaking the all-time season sack record — and that was in spite of the Vikings' conservative play-calling and otherwise weak pass rush. Case in point: Late in the year it looked as if Allen had burned out, but once coach Leslie Frazier let him loose, he picked up three and a half sacks in the last game of the season. Watching Allen tear up the league was almost enough to make you forget that whole Donovan McNabb fiasco. Almost.

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