MANKATO – Unlike teammate Harrison Smith, Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil doesn’t have an issue with the fifth-year option that teams hold over first-round draft picks per the collective bargaining agreement.
“If I had a Pro Bowl season last year, I’m sure I would have already restructured, but I didn’t,” said Kalil, who, like Smith, was a first-round pick in 2012. “I think it’s fair. You have to work to earn that money. For me, just playing well takes care of everything. I either get the fifth-year option money or they restructure my contract.”
Or, if he struggles like he did a year ago, the Vikings would remove the option, which is guaranteed only if a player suffers a career-ending injury.
As 2012 first-rounders who had their options picked up, Kalil and Smith are now under contract through 2016. Players picked in other rounds in 2012 are in the final year of their rookie contracts.
As the fourth overall pick, the option on Kalil was $11 million. Smith, who said last week that he “wasn’t a big fan” of the fifth-year option, was the 29th overall pick, so his option for 2016 was considerably less, $5.3 million.
Only one 2012 first-rounder — Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus, the 26th pick — has received an extension. Six players didn’t have their options picked up, and five are no longer with the team that drafted them.
“As a player, at least for me, I would love to play in the same place my whole career,” Kalil said. “My future wife is from here. Her whole family is here.”
Madson still hustling
Brad Madson, the man heading up the team’s community relations department the past 20 years, was running around in typical top speed Friday as the Vikings played host to a group of fans with disabilities who came from as far away as Chicago.
Chet Massino Jr., a 57-year-old man born with cerebral palsy, arrived early Friday from the Chicago area for his 35th consecutive Vikings training camp. His 82-year-old mother, Yvonne, and a family friend drove the annual seven-hour trek for the special access to players and coaches.
“I bought Chet a Vikings stocking cap when he was 8 years old,” Yvonne said. “He put it on his head, became a Vikings fan and that hat still hangs on his wall.”
Touring the Hall of Fame
Vikings players and coaches will tour the Pro Football Hall of Fame next weekend ahead of their Sunday night preseason opener against the Steelers in the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.
“I’ve never been there,” linebacker Chad Greenway said. “I think it’s important for all of us guys to go see it and gain some sense of history for the game. I want to see all the Vikings-related stuff and I’m also looking forward to seeing [former Viking] Mick Tingelhoff go in this year.”
On board with appeal
Greenway, the Vikings union representative, said he hasn’t followed the Tom Brady “Deflategate” saga in New England closely enough to foster an opinion on whether the Patriots quarterback deserves the four-game suspension that he received. Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the four-game suspension and the NFL Players Association filed an appeal in federal court on behalf of Brady.
“It would be irresponsible for me to comment specifically,” Greenway said. “But I think from a union standpoint, we’re obviously always on board with protecting our players. And the appeals process is a right that we’re allowed to have. It’s always good to see that process followed through.”
Harris ‘surprisingly good’
Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner said Mike Harris looks “surprisingly good” in his transition from career tackle to right guard, where he’s still working with the first team.
“It’s tough for a guy his size, his length, in there,” Turner said of the 6-5, 338-pounder.
“But he’s going against good players and I think he’s doing well. He’s gradually getting his pad level down. He can’t play too high in there because you’re going to play against big guys all the time.”