Some rookies get a baptism by fire. Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil has been thrown into the bowels of a blast furnace.
He’s regularly facing defensive end Jared Allen, the 22-sack bright spot on a generally bad defense in 2011. Allen, who would be holding the single-season sack record but for Brett Favre’s hook-slide gimme for Michael Strahan in 2001, doesn’t get nearly the attention Allen deserves, because he plays for a team that has become an afterthought in the NFC North.
The “afterthought” status could change, if Kalil can play against opponents the way he performed against Allen on Tuesday.
Per Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com, Kalil “stonewalled” Allen on consecutive plays, prompting Allen to curse loudly.
Cursing could lead to fighting, based on Allen’s recent comments from an appearance on NBC SportsTalk. “Just don’t touch me,” Allen said. “I’m too old to deal with overzealous rookies right now. Keep your hands out of my face, don’t grab my jersey and we won’t have to fist fight.”
Kalil’s brother, Panthers perennial Pro Bowl center Ryan, told PFT Live last week that Matt had been pestering Panthers left tackle Joran Gross for information on how to deal with Jared Allen.
Whatever Matt Kalil is doing, it’s apparently working. And if he can make it work against Allen, Kalil likely can make it work against anyone.