The New Anchor on the Left Side
The Minnesota Vikings had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last year. They cut their best lineman (Bryant McKinnie) during training camp. He ended up signing with the Baltimore Ravens and had a decent year. That move turned a poor offensive line into a horrible one. A main objective for the Vikings in the offseason was to drastically improve this area. They went out and signed free agent guards Chris DeGeare and Butch Davis, but the biggest move was made during the NFL Draft in April when the Vikings selected Matt Kalil out of USC with the 4th overall pick.
Matt Kalil was Tyron Smith’s (offensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys) backup in 2009. Kalil played off and on in 2010 and ended the year as a starter. For a little more than 2 seasons, he was USC’s starting left tackle (LT) and during his junior year he didn’t allow a sack. Last year, Kalil won the Morris Trophy (PAC- 12 Top Offensive Lineman), was a finalist for Lombardi Trophy, and was named to the AP’s All-American first team.
Kalil has the prototypical size for an NFL Offensive Lineman: He stands 6’7”, weighs 306 lbs, his arm length is 34 ½”, and brings good quickness and athletic ability to the table. Matt comes from a family of offensive lineman. His Dad (Frank) played in the USFL and his brother (Ryan) is the starting Pro Bowl center for the Carolina Panthers.
From the different scouting reports that I’ve read, the two biggest things for Kalil to work on is get stronger and play with better technique. He hasn’t played against some of the top defensive bull rushers, the 3-4 OLB pass rushers like Clay Mathews, and other top players that he will see on a regular basis.
Kalil could turn out to be the franchise LT for the next decade. He should help the Vikings in protecting Christian Ponder and creating holes for Adrian Peterson to run wild.