Steelers vs. Vikings: Cortez Allen is aware of Adrian Peterson, and his history with William Gay

Grant Halverson

Pittsburgh's turnover-adverse defense will see the return of Cortez Allen in their Week 4 game against the Vikings. The last time these teams played, Adrian Peterson put William Gay on the wrong side of a highlight clip. Allen is aware of it, and the lack of turnovers his team has produced.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has played 190 snaps through three games this season and have recorded no turnovers.

The last turnover generated by the club came on the defense's final snap in 2012 against Cleveland, as the Browns bounced the ball around for four turnovers (three fumbles and one interception). The Steelers forced 15 fumbles last season and recovered nine to go with 10 interceptions. Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons was the leader with three picks.

"We just haven't had any, and that's the truth,'' Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu said. "When you get turnovers, it's kind of a thing ... when the games are tight, quarterbacks don't want to take the risk. And they're not putting quarterbacks in a position to turn the ball over. So, it's a lot tougher. That's what makes it tough getting turnovers."

The defense is expected to get a boost from the return of cornerback Cortez Allen, who has missed the past 2 1/2 games with an ankle injury. Allen made an immediate impact when he entered the lineup last season, and he finished with three forced fumbles, one recovered and two interceptions. Maybe Allen is all the Steelers need to finally force a turnover.

"It has nothing to do with me,'' Allen said. "When I get in there, I try to contribute to it as best as I can, but that's a collective battle, a collective mission and goal no matter who's in there. So, that's everybody's job.

"(And) I expect to help the team in any way that I can, but I don't take the weight of everything on me. My approach to it is that I'm going to do whatever I can to help us win, and I hope to do it by creating some turnovers."

When the Vikings' offense bogs down, quarterback Christian Ponder turns to running back Adrian Peterson to carry the load. Allen said the Steelers are well aware of what Peterson provides for an offense.

"We pride ourselves in being physical and not turning down anything, but he is one of the best at what he does as far as being a running back and an all-around athlete, his mental toughness and how he approaches the game," Allen said. "So, it's a challenging job for us.

"But I feel like this defense, we like it when we get challenges like that because it gives us a chance to test ourselves even more. The same with their fullback. He's a big guy, too, but our coaching staff will come up with a great game plan, like they always do, and we'll execute it to the best of our ability."

The last time William Gay had a shot to tackle Peterson, he ran over the cornerback. Gay said it was just part of the game. Allen chuckled and said he's heard rumors about the play, but quickly added an endorsement.

"You have a player like Gay who, on the goal line last week, I don't know how many corners would bite their mouthpiece and take it like that and just shoot in there like Will does or like Ike (Taylor) does. Our DBs like to hit, and sometime in the course of a game that happens. It's part of the game.

"It's nothing to be ashamed about or embarrassed about. It's probably going to happen to me sometime in my career, but the only thing you should be embarrassed about is if you cringe on the opportunity or are afraid of the opportunity to do that. It's part of the game, but I have a lot of respect for our DBs and especially for Will how he attacks ball-carriers.

But will that aggressive play be enough to snap the Steelers string of plays without a turnover?

"Only time will tell," Polamalu said.

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