In one of the most surprising signings in free agency to date, the Bears have acquired Jared Allen.

Allen, the former Vikings star, was widely believed to be nearing a deal with the defending champion Seahawks. Instead, he’ll stay in the NFC North but head south to Chicago.

“We are extremely happy for Jared, his wife Amy, our fans and the Chicago Bears that Jared has agreed to terms,” Bears G.M. Phil Emery said in a statement.

On the Bears’ defense, Allen serves as the replacement for Julius Peppers, who departed for the Packers in free agency.