Vikings CB Asher Allen has been vaulted into a primary role on defense through two games. And according to defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Allen has done well.
"He’s done well," Frazier said Thursday. "He was thrust into a role. We had an idea of where we were going prior to the Saints game and things changed a little bit, but he’s handled things very well.
"We have a lot of confidence in Asher and we believe he will continue to grow and develop as a player. He’s done nothing to make us think that he won’t be a big-time player in this league."
Allen was forced to step up with Cedric Griffin rehabbing a knee injury and Chris Cook also unable to play. The first two games, the team has used Allen as the starting right cornerback in the base defense, flipping him over to right corner in the nickel, with Antoine Winfield moving inside and Lito Sheppard coming on to play the right side. It's a lot of responsibility for a young corner to play both sides like that.
"We just wanted to be able to get Lito into a comfortable position and that allowed him to do what he’s done in practice and from training camp on," Frazier said. "In Asher’s case, he’s worked both sides and that’s probably the biggest reason, just comfort with the positions."
There will be times when Allen, who is 5-10, will face off against Lions WR Calvin Johnson on Sunday. A tough matchup for any corner, yes, but Frazlier believes Allen can face up to the challenge head on.
"(Allen is) a tough-minded guy. He doesn’t get intimidated by the name of a player or the size of a player and he’s got the pedigree to be an outstanding player," Frazier said. "He’s got great quickness, great instincts, and he’s a very smart player. He’s not afraid, so he has a chance to be successful."
Cook could see his first action Sunday, and the rookie appeared to win the starting RCB job coming out of training camp before hurting his knee. It will be interesting to see how the Vikings play it on Sunday. Cook will play if he's active, though he might not be thrust into the starting lineup right away.