NFL teams have started to exercise their fifth-year options on 2012 first-round picks. The headliner is Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick that year and now the franchise quarterback for the Colts.
The Vikings will soon have to make decisions on a pair of players in Harrison Smith and Matt Kalil.
Picking up the option on Smith, who was a Pro Bowl-caliber safety in 2014, is a no-brainer. The Vikings will have a tougher call on Kalil, who has regressed since making the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
In case you need a refresher on these fifth-year options, they are only available for teams to use on first-round draft picks. In the case of Kalil and Smith, the Vikings have the ability to keep them around through the 2016 season. Their fifth-year salaries — $11.1 million for Kalil and $5.3 million for Smith — would only be guaranteed in the event of injury. So if a healthy Kalil struggles, they can simply cut him before the 2016 league year and won't have to pay him a dime of that $11.1 million.
The deadline for teams to exercise the option is May 3, the day after the draft wraps up.
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