Genevieve Ross, Associated Press
New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees (9) looks to pass while being pressured by Minnesota Vikings' Jared Allen (69) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, in Minneapolis.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings were getting routed by lot New Orleans, and Jared Allen was on the sideline during the Saints' final possession.

That's not an unusual move to protect the health of a star player in the fourth quarter with the outcome long decided, but Allen said after the game he was upset he wasn't on the field. This was another prime example of Allen's competitive fire, which has paid off in the form of 17½ sacks this season.

The Vikings have only two victories, so they're looking at Allen's pursuit of the NFL single-game record as a source of pride. Michael Strahan of the New York Giants had 22½ sacks in 2001.