Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has faced the Detroit Lions 11 times in his professional playing career.
Part of the preparation for every one of those contests was to study up on Lions left tackle Jeff Backus.
"He had a notebook on me and I had a notebook on him," Allen said in a conference call Wednesday. "Sometimes it makes you realize you're getting up there in years when guys you've been playing against your whole career start retiring."
Allen said he's building a notebook on Lions new left tackle
Reiff, who started one game last year as a rookie, has assumed the full-time starting role at left tackle entering this season after Backus retired.
Reiff did a good job in his one start last year on Thanksgiving vs. the Texans and their talented defensive ends, Connor Barwin and J.J. Watt, but this is a little different situation. He's now "the guy" charged with protecting the franchise's blind side.
The first test in that new role is trying to stop one of the game's very best in Allen, who had 12 sacks last year -- his sixth consecutive 10-plus sack season. Since entering the NFL in 2004, Allen has an NFL-best 117 sacks.
"Jared is a great player," Reiff said of the matchup. "He's respected around the league and I'm just going to go out there and play."
Reiff said he's been in Backus' ear a little bit while preparing for the Vikings and Allen.
"I talk to Jeff quite a bit," he said. "He's helpful and insightful. He's a good resource."
Allen may smell fresh blood in the water, but he's expecting to see the very best from a second-year player like Reiff.
"Young guys are trying to make a name for themselves in this league, too," Allen said. "How else do you make a name than by beating established players?
"I remember when I was young and got to go against Orlando Pace. I was licking my chops. I was excited. I expect him to come out full of piss and vinegar and grit and ready to rock and roll."
Allen had two sacks in that matchup, by the way.
Allen knows that it's always dangerous to take anyone for granted in this league because a player can always be humbled.
"That's going to be a tough matchup," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. "His first start was last year on Thanksgiving. He had some tough matchups in that game too and he did a good job in there.
"Every time we put him in a game, he has gotten the job done for us. Riley is a young player, but he's a very mature player. He's a smart guy on the offensive line.
"He's still growing and developing. He's very serious about what he does and we're in good hands with him at left tackle."
Coaches will have an even better idea of the kind of player they have in Reiff around 4 p.m. Sunday after he's done facing one of the best tests the NFL can provide a left tackle.