Matt Kalil felt the pressure. Using that sixth sense some players possess, he identified, without looking, the four opponents itching to rush him, and countered with his most athletic move of the day.

He spun, grabbed his satchel, stuck his phone to his ear, cut past four reporters and headed to the exit of the Vikings locker room. One reporter tried to stop him at the door, but Kalil said, "Sorry, I'm on the phone,'' and was gone.

The scouting notebook on Kalil: Displayed a good first step, was better than expected in space, but will be penalized for illegal use of a handheld device.

The Vikings left tackle had another lousy game Sunday, a performance that might have made the difference in a 24-21 loss to the Packers at TCF Bank Stadium. He chose not to talk about it, perhaps because there's nothing left for him to say.

The Vikings used the fourth pick in the 2012 draft on Kalil. He went to the Pro Bowl following his rookie season. Conventional wisdom concluded that the Vikings, kings of the draft day gamble, had landed a good player who would fill an important position for the rest of the decade.

In 2013, he regressed. In 2014, he has made us yearn for last year.

Left tackles, when not given much help, are said to be "on an island.'' For Kalil, that island is now more Staten than Maui.

In a job at which on-field anonymity is a goal, Kalil has become a football Kardashian: constantly receiving attention for dubious acts.

His defenders, including Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, say he plays well most of the time, which is like saying that the Titanic hit only one iceberg.

"Honestly, it was hard for me to see,'' Zimmer said.

For Vikings fans, it's hard to watch.

Sunday, the Vikings were charged with seven penalties adding up to 77 yards. Kalil was responsible for three, and 35 yards. His next endorsement will be for "Matt Kalil's Yellow Flags — They Bring Out The Red in My Face.''

In the second quarter, Kalil grabbed a Packer's facemask. Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had run for 8 yards to the Green Bay 15. The penalty pushed the Vikings back to the 38. They wound up with a field goal instead of a chance at a touchdown.

On the first play of the third quarter, running back Jerick McKinnon ran for 7 yards to the Vikings 46. Kalil was called for holding. Instead of capitalizing on promising field position, the Vikings ran three plays and punted.

With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Kalil again was called for holding, turning a second-and-10 into a second-and-20. The Vikings still scored a touchdown on the drive, so the penalty did not matter.

Kalil may have cost his team seven points with his penalties. He also is the highest-profile player on an offensive line that has not played up to expectations the past two seasons.

Worse for him, now that Christian Ponder is on the bench, Kalil has become the Vikings' most prominent draft bust and fan punch line.

Here's the biggest problem with Kalil being a problem: He is unaffiliated with a solution.

The only backup offensive tackle active for the Vikings on Sunday was Mike Harris. Harris, like Kalil, entered the NFL in 2012. Harris went undrafted, then was cut by the Chargers.

Is there any reason to believe that Mike Harris is better than even a struggling Kalil?

Eleven games into a lost season, the Vikings have little choice but to treat Kalil like one of their important rookies. Give him five games to display improvement. Heading into the offseason, threaten him with the career-altering ramifications of playing badly.

Then, as with Bridgewater and McKinnon and Charles Johnson, hope. Hope that he rededicates himself. Hope that he won't continue to be a roster-depleting bust.

Hope that when he was escaping the locker room with a phone stuck to his ear, he was calling for help.

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. Twitter: @SouhanStrib