Jared Allen motivated for Bears
The Bears need a victory against the Vikings on Monday night and a loss by the Green Bay Packers at New England on Sunday to clinch the NFC North. The plan, Allen said, is to make sure the division title isn't crowned as a result of Monday night's result.
"Make sure they don't get it on you. You don't want to be the team that allows a team to win something," Allen said of his 5-8 Vikings. "We're out here to spoil everybody's parade, and I think it's important for us to strive to get to 8-8. You have to find something positive in this mess and strive for it. One big thing is we've got the Chicago Bears, a division rival coming in, not necessarily our home field, but our home state. We need to put on a good performance for our fans."
Allen said he is trying to find something positive out of Minnesota's season, which kicked off with Super Bowl expectations after making it to the NFC championship game last season. After an emotional loss last week to the New York Giants, some Vikings players vowed to put forth maximum effort despite the circumstances.
It's that motivation that makes the Vikings a dangerous team for the Bears, according to Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
"Be careful with teams like that. They got one mission and that's to start knocking off playoff teams and guys still in it will make a run for it. So we've got to take them seriously. [They are] a tough team. We played well against them the first time [a 27-13 victory on Nov. 14]. Still doing a lot of similar stuff offensively and defensively."
Allen said he is hanging onto his love of the sport for motivation.
"It's football," Allen said. "I'm trying to be the best I can be. I don't want to let my teammates down. I don't want to be the guy, the reason something bad happens. I refuse to be that guy. Every time I go on the field, my attitude is: 'I want to be the best.' To do that, you've got to put the work in week in and week out. Whether you're playing for the playoffs or not, you can't just shut it down.
"At the end of the day, you're responsible for what you put onto tape."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.