MINNEAPOLIS -- All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen was traded from Kansas City to Minnesota in a blockbuster deal, making the Chiefs one of the major players in this weekend's NFL Draft and the Vikings a serious contender in the NFC.
Kansas City gets Minnesota's first-round pick, No. 17 overall, and both of the Vikings' third-round selections. The teams also swapped sixth-rounders in the deal announced Wednesday.
Allen, who had an NFL-best 15½ sacks last season despite being suspended the first two games, agreed to terms on a six-year deal that includes $31 million in guaranteed money. It could be worth more than $74 million if he reaches certain incentives, according to a person familiar with the deal. The contract will make Allen the highest paid defensive player in the league.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Coming off an 8-8 season, the Vikings are paying a hefty price in a move they believe will vault them into contention in the wide-open NFC.
A pass-rushing defensive end became the team's top priority this season after Kenechi Udeze was diagnosed with leukemia, and with fellow former first-rounder Erasmus James coming off a third major knee surgery. The Vikings weren't sure a gifted pass rusher such as Florida's Derrick Harvey would be around at pick No. 17, so they went after a player who dominated them last season.
The Vikings played at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 3 of 2007, Allen's first game after serving a two-game suspension for multiple DUI convictions. Allen had two sacks, eight tackles, two batted passes and a forced fumble in Kansas City's 13-10 victory.
The relentless rusher fills perhaps the lone weakness on a proud veteran defense. Minnesota ranked No. 1 against the run last year, but last against the pass primarily because opposing offenses abandoned the run and had all day to throw against a weak pass rush.
Now with Allen on the outside and the "Williams Wall" in the middle, things won't be so easy.
Just 26, the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Allen was a supplemental fourth-round pick by the Chiefs out of Idaho State in 2004. He quickly established himself as a topflight pass-rusher, but also has a tendency to overpursue and sometimes gets out of position on running plays.
Allen was recognized as the premier defensive player in NCAA Division I-AA as a senior, but fell to the fourth round because of character concerns. Allen says he has quit drinking, and another DUI arrest could bring with it a yearlong suspension from the NFL.
The Chiefs designated Allen their franchise player, but Allen made it clear he wanted no part of the team's massive rebuilding plan. He told the team he wanted to play for a contender and was not interested in signing a long-term deal with a team that is embarking on a youth movement under coach Herm Edwards following a 4-12 season.