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Vikings' Allen continues quiet pursuit of sack record

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Jared Allen and his wife recently brought home a baby daughter.

So Allen's bye week was mostly spent changing diapers and relishing the miracle of birth and the joy of fatherhood, not pondering his opportunity to break the NFL's all-time single-season sack record.

But when Allen and the Minnesota Vikingstake on the rival Packers in Green Bay on Monday night, the 29-year-old will resume his quiet pursuit of Michael Strahan's mark of 22.5 sacks. Halfway through the season, Allen has 12½ sacks, a pace for 25.

"I knew that he was really focusing on a mission for 2011, but to say I could've predicted he'd be at 12½ in eight games? I don't know if I could've predicted that," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "I knew he was going to play better than a year ago, and boy has he. Hopefully we can keep this going."

DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys is right behind Allen with 12 sacks. Because of that and Minnesota's 2-6 record, Allen's production hasn't received much national attention. Yet.

"He's had an unbelievable year, and I think he should get more attention than what he's got even though we haven't probably been where we needed to be," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "But I hope that we can get some more attention (for) him by winning some games."

What if Allen is close to Strahan's record, set in 2001 with the New York Giants, with a couple of games to go?

"At that point it'll be like Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, just not being in New York," Greenway predicted. "Everybody will be talking about it, putting a hex on him, but the way he plays, we're all coming along with him. He's playing at a high level, so we're happy for him."

Like he has done to so many left tackles throughout his career, Allen maneuvered around a question whether 23-plus sacks is attainable this season.

"Anything's attainable," Allen said. "At the start of every year, everybody tries to attain greatness. It can't be your focus. If the end result is such, then it means you did your job, you did all the little things, preparing and going out every week and trying to do whatever it takes to go out there and win. If that's what you're focusing on, you're probably not going to get it and you're not doing your job and everything else you've got to do."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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