It’s probably safe to say that it was good for both parties involved that former Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil signed with the Panthers in the offseason.
After five injury-marred and largely disappointing seasons here after being the No. 4 overall pick in 2012, Kalil needed a change of scenery and the Vikings needed to try something else — which ended up being free agent signee Riley Reiff.
Still, it’s been interesting to hear Kalil take some shots at Minnesota now that he’s gone. Back in March, Kalil’s gripe was with the treatment he received from fans. He said he left Twitter because of harassment while he was playing with the Vikings.
This week, in a feature story in the Charlotte Observer that deals with Kalil now playing with his brother Ryan with the Panthers, there was this:
The Panthers think a healthy Kalil, reunited with his brother and working with offensive line coach John Matsko, is primed for a big bounce-back. Matt said he’s fired up to play for Matsko, who helped Oher get back on track before a concussion sidelined him last year and eventually led to his release. “(Matsko) is the first guy I’ve played for that kind of demands excellence from his offensive line room,” Matt said.
Kalil had two offensive line coaches with the Vikings: Jeff Davidson for his first four years and Tony Sparano last year. He’s certainly entitled to the opinion that those coaches didn’t demand excellence, but it seems strange. Also, if you’re a professional playing at the highest level, shouldn’t the demand for excellence come from within?
In any event, Kalil says he’s healthy and feeling ready to get back to the level he played at as a rookie in 2012. It will be interesting to see how the left tackle spot works out for both the Panthers and the Vikings this season.