The Minnesota Vikings' first round draft pick, offensive tackle Matt Kalil, is entering the NFL as the top-ranked lineman from the 2012 draft. It will be interesting to see how he fares in practice against All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen, the league leader in quarterback sacks with 22 last season.
Before the draft some scouts believed USC's Kalil was close to perfect as a blocker, and one of the most complete offensive tackles to come out of college since Tony Boselli - also from USC - who was the second player selected in the 1995 draft by Jacksonville.
Once the helmets and pads go on in July, the rookie will be tested by one of the best pass rushers - and all around ends - in the game today. Allen will undoubtedly make Kalil look less than perfect during training camp practices. But if Kalil can just hold his own against Allen, Vikings fans will have hope that the rookie will be able stand up against most opponents in the regular season.
The Kalil-Allen matchup will probably be reminiscent of practice battles in past years between Vikings' linemen. In the 1990's offensive guard Randall McDaniel and defensive tackle John Randle went head to head, and in the 1970's offensive tackle Ron Yary and defensive end Carl Eller lined up against each other.
All four of those players are now in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Vikings fans are hoping that Kalil and Allen will play up to the same high standards. If they do, Minnesota will be on its way to improving last season's 3-13 record. And, the future will look bright with Kalil at the key position of left offensive tackle. Last year's number one draft pick, quarterback Christian Ponder, won't have to worry as much knowing that his blind side is protected.
source for statistics: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/http://www.nfl.com/http://www.vikings.com/