The Vikings announced this afternoon that they have picked up the fifth-year options for both of their 2012 first-round draft picks, left tackle Matt Kalil and safety Harrison Smith.
The options, which can only be applied to first-round picks, keep both players under team control through 2016. The options are only guaranteed for major injury, though, so hypothetically, if one or both struggles on the field, the Vikings could just cut them after the 2015 season with no penalty.
Kalil’s option for 2016 is for $11.1 million because he plays offensive tackle and because he was picked in the top 10 selections in 2012. Smith’s option will cost $5.3 million because he is a safety and he was selected after the 10th pick in the first round.
Kalil was a Pro Bowler as a rookie in 2012 but his level of play has plummeted the past two years.
Smith has become one of the NFL’s best young safeties and was a Pro Bowl candidate in 2014.
Last year, the first time that fifth-year options came into play under the CBA negotiated in 2011, the Vikings declined to pick up their fifth-year option on 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder. The quarterback became a free agent after the season and signed with the Raiders in March.