Welcome to the Tuesday edition of The Cooler, where we hope everyone has two healthy knees. Let’s get to it:
*In March 2017, left tackles Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff were free agents. It was reported that Kalil, drafted No. 4 overall by the Vikings in 2012, picked Carolina over the Vikings in part because he wanted to play alongside his brother, Ryan.
It seemed at the time a little strange that the Vikings even had interest in Kalil given how his play had diminished because of injuries, which limited him to just two games in 2016.
But Kalil signed with Carolina anyway for a reported five year, $55 million deal that included $25 million guaranteed. Reiff signed with the Vikings as his replacement for a similar deal.
Reiff was good last year — not great, but an upgrade over Kalil in terms of both durability and performance. Kalil wasn’t awful with Carolina, but he allowed more pressures and had a lower pass-blocking grade than Reiff, per Pro Football Focus.
And now we come to this season, where the Vikings are facing a ton of questions on the offensive line based on a combination of their own inattentiveness to the position this offseason and some bad injury luck. One of the mainstays in camp, again, has been Reiff.
Kalil, on the other hand, is experiencing knee problems. Tom Pelissero reports that Kalil is going to see famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday. It’s good to have a great doctor, but it’s generally bad news for teams and players when Andrews is paid a visit. He scoped Kalil’s knees in 2015.
Maybe Kalil will receive good news. But imagine if this was all playing out in Minnesota right now, with Nick Easton already out and other nagging injuries plaguing the line. It would be a full-blown panic.
*In case you needed further evidence of the leg strength of Daniel Carlson — the rookie Vikings kicker who claimed the starting job on Monday when Kai Forbath was cut — let me point you toward this kickoff with Auburn in 2016.
There are touchbacks, and then there are boots that travel all the way through the end zone and hit a poor woman in the face. You don’t have to guess which kind Carlson had. Here’s the video:
*Former Wolves guard Alexey Shved reportedly turned down contract offers from several NBA teams this offseason — including the Wolves. This is coming from a single report in Sportando quoting Shved’s agent, but it makes you wonder. Shved has been playing in Russia, and playing quite well.