"If we can get what we are expecting from Shariff ... we should get more quality from him over time," coach Leslie Frazier said.
The other issue here is contracts: Williams, Allen and Robison are all playing on expiring deals. So is Griffen, but his age and ascending production have put him in prime territory for an extension. Floyd, of course, will be around for a while. If the incumbents aren't new contracts, well, the Vikings better have ready-made replacements for 2014.
"The more pass rushers you can get, the more you want. You never want to turn down pass rushers. You need them," Frazier said.
Allen has long been the most vocal about his disinterest in coming off the field, and he has won many arguments with his bosses. Last year, for instance, with the Vikings making a surprise push for a playoff spot, he played 72 of 78 snaps (92 percent) against Chicago on Dec. 9 after taking 80 of 82 snaps (98 percent) at Green Bay the week before.
"If you're good enough to be the starter, you're the starter. And I've always been a firm believer in that," Allen said.
He has acknowledged his respect of the rotation strategy, but only to a point.
"You have to have depth because of injuries. You have to have depth because guys do get tired. You can't expect a 315-pound guy to play 80 snaps a game. I understand that," Allen said. "My philosophy is when you starting rotating left tackles, you can start rotating me."
His resistance to relief is rooting in a belief in the importance of rhythm. Allen needs to develop a feel for the way his teammates are rushing around him during a game, and he's also intent on breaking whatever flow his opponent has going.
"That guy across from you, you know he's not in as good of shape as you are so you know you have a chance, and that's when things can spark and things can happen," Allen said. "You never know when that one play is going to be. I always feel I give our team a chance when I have an opportunity to make that play."