Last year this time, Matt Kalil was a Vikings first-round choice with a great reputation at Southern California but with no one knowing for sure whether or not he would live up to the praise.
Well, Kalil not only live up to his reputation during a great rookie season that included helping Adrian Peterson to his 2,097 yards and MVP award, but Vikings coaches believe that the left tackle is going to be attending Pro Bowls for a very long time, just as he did earlier this year.
After enjoying that banner rookie year, Kalil was asked what is different about his experiences in preparing for Year 2.
“I think just being a lot more comfortable in this environment and knowing my teammates a lot better and kind of being more at ease and getting the routine down,” he said. “I think that’s more different.
“It’s still the same mindset. I want to work hard and continue to get better and still become a better player.”
The Vikings started the same five offensive linemen for all 16 games last season, and it is back intact for this upcoming year. Kalil believes that is a big plus for the team.
“Especially know that I know them a lot better and hang out with them a lot more,” he said. “It’s a lot easier.”
Kalil is listed at 6-7 and 295 pounds by the team, and he is a rare lineman that has trouble keeping on weight. He said his weight is currently above 300, which is what he would like to play at.
“My weight is fine, my weight has always been fine and hasn’t affected my playing, so I’m not too worried about it,” he said.
Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson has coached linemen around the league at New Orleans, New England, Cleveland and Carolina, and he hasn’t coached a tackle better than Kalil.
As Ben Revere showed his old team Thursday night, the Twins traded away a gifted player when they dealt him last offseason.
Revere has been having a rough season with the Phillies, but he looked like the speedster the Twins remembered that night when he had four hits, including a triple, as well as two runs and a stolen base in Philadelphia’s 3-2 victory at Target Field.
Charlie Manuel said this past week that Revere has a few things he needs to work on going forward.
“He’s a little short on arm, but he likes to play and plays real hard,” said Manuel, the former Twins player in his ninth season managing the Phillies. “I’d like to see him bunt a little bit better, and actually getting on-base, he needs to learn how to get a little bit better lead and he would help us a lot more, because he would manufacture some runs for us.”
Revere, whom the Twins traded this past offseason for pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May, entered Saturday hitting .264 with a low .304 on-base percentage — that’s down from a .294 batting average and .333 on-base percentage last season. But Manuel believes Revere’s offense will come around.
“He has a chance to help us,” he said. “He needs to improve a little bit on his leads, his breaks and leads, and he needs to improve on his bunting.”
Manuel’s new-look outfield includes another former Twins player in right in Delmon Young, who signed as a free agent for $750,000 plus incentives. Manuel said the Phillies had to rush Young back a little from his rehab assignment following microfracture surgery on his right ankle in the offseason.