Matt Kalil (Thomas B. Shea/Getty)
Matt Kalil has struggled to keep his weight up to offensive lineman standards for years and this year is no different, at times eating until he feels like he has to throw up. Plus, practice notes and information on the NFL’s stricter policy regarding bags that fans can bring into the stadium.
Matt Kalil has a dietary problem most of the nation would love to have, but Kalil insists it’s not as wonderful as it sounds to eat as much as you want without worrying about the weight-gaining consequences.
The Vikings’ left tackle has lost count of how many calories he takes in during an average day, estimating somewhere in the range of 5,000 to 6,000. But while many linemen are conscious not to eat too much before training camp so they don’t exceed any weight clauses in their contract, Kalil is trying to keep the weight on.
In theory, sounds great, right?
“People think it’s fun, but when you want to throw up after eating so much …” Kalil said, saying he does get to that point sometimes. “The food’s not that bad, but I’ve got to keep eating all the time, otherwise I lose it fast. I’ve got to stay on top of it.”
Geji McKinney, the team’s director of food service operations, helps Kalil with that process.
“She makes some good lamb chops and pork chops. She’s a great cook. Pork chops and potatoes and all those calories,” Kalil said.
“I’ll have my day where I’ll go eat fast food or something quick like that. We’re all human.”
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier admitted Kalil does struggle to keep the weight on, but he hasn’t noticed a change in Kalil’s weight.
“He is one of those guys who can play at a lean weight and still be effective. He is unusual in that way as an offensive lineman,” Frazier said. “There is no real changes physically and his weight hasn’t fluctuated a whole lot.”
At 6-foot-7, Kalil is listed at 308 pounds on the roster but said he checked into training camp last week at 313.
“I think I’m where I need to be or where I want to play at. You don’t want to gain too much weight too fast, otherwise you sacrifice speed and I’d be a little slower out there,” he said. “As far as gaining weight, I put it on, but sometimes it doesn’t look like it. I guess that’s a good problem to have. I’ve been focusing on eating my diet and getting stronger and still trying to stay fast out there and quick on my feet.”
The only change Kalil made in the offseason, he said, is to eat healthier (multiple protein shakes in a day) and try to eliminate consistently eating fast food.
Weight issues aside, Kalil had an impressive rookie season in 2012. He played in all 1,035 offensive snaps, was named to the Pro Bowl and earned all-rookie honors from Pro Football Weekly and the Professional Football Writers Association, but Frazier stressed the importance of trying to get better in his second season.
“Guys are studying him on tape just like how he studies defensive linemen. They are trying to come up with ways to have success against him. There are some things we are working on to help him improve,” Frazier said. “He has to understand that, and I think he does. Matt wants to be the best left tackle in the National Football League. So he is working hard and we just have to keep putting him in positions every day. He is going against some pretty good defensive linemen here on the other side of the ball at our training camp. All of those things help get him ready for the regular season.”
The NFL is implementing stricter guidelines on the bags that will be allowed into stadiums this season, and the Vikings are reminding fans of the new procedures.
Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, along with one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags, will be allowed. So will a small clutch about the size of the hand. Medical exceptions will be made where necessary.
The stricter guidelines begin with the first preseason game and will be enforced at all NFL stadiums. Jeff Anderson, the team’s director of corporate communications, said he encourages fans to not bring any bags up to the stadium, but understands that’s not feasible for all fans.
If fans do bring bags to the stadium that don’t comply with the new rules, the team will have an emergency bag check for the first few games while people get used to the new procedures.
The Vikings are communicating the changes to all of their season ticket holders, who are also receiving a clear bag with a Vikings logo that complies with the new regulations, and are including communication with all single-game purchases too.
In addition, the team plans to deploy “fan ambassadors” at light rail stops and in parking lots and surrounding areas to remind people of the changes.
“It’s going to be a significant change for our fans,” Anderson said.
Fullback Jerome Felton returned to action after tending to a personal matter the last two days.
Center John Sullivan took some of the first-team reps off during a portion of the full-team practice for the first time Wednesday. Sullivan is recovering from microfracture surgery to his left knee. Joe Berger took his place during Sullivan’s rest.
LB Desmond Bishop had two big hits in the afternoon practice, the first on TE John Carlson and the second on RB Toby Gerhart.
During full-team work, the Vikings called on rookie punter Jeff Locke one time and he delivered a 60-yard punt.
Although receiver Joe Webb dropped a couple passes, he also had the catch of the day when he turned quickly to locate a ball during full-team work and made a one-handed catch that drew the praise of receivers coach George Stewart.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.