So far this camp the media has made much about the match-up between defensive end Jared Allen and left tackle Matt Kalil. And rightfully so. Allen is coming off of a 22-sack season and Kalil was drafted 4th overall to be the team’s answer protecting the quarterbacks blindside for the next decade. During an interview with Pro Football Talk on July 20th, Allen was quoted as saying, “Just don’t touch me. 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.” when asked on Kalil in a surprising response. If Kalil really wasn’t worth his salt he’d probably not comment much on a rookie or come across as peeved. Then yesterday at practice 1500ESPN’s Tom Pelissero tweeted that Kalil “stonewalled” Allen during practice on two straight snaps prohibiting him from getting into the Vikings backfield where Allen “cursed loudly” after the plays.
Legendary physist Sir Isaac Newton stated that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” when writing his laws of motion. That statement very much applies following the Vikings in training camp. Whenever the team engages in scrimmages our offense is obviously playing against our defense. So if a defensive back such as Bobby Felder (who’s trying to make the team as an undrafted free agent) was making plays in coverage picks a ball off please remember that he’s intercepting one of Joe Webb or Sage Rosenfels. The same would apply if Chris Cook picks off Christian Ponder as the first teams duel. Therefore, as fanbased writers it’s tough to cheer for any particular Viking to get the better of another. Yet in the case of Kalil vs. Allen it makes the most sense to applaud Kalil. Every Vikes can tell you Allen is a 4x All-Pro who was half a sack away from besting Michael Strahan’s single season record and is a respected figure in the locker room. When the Vikings were campaigning for a new stadium earlier this year, it was Allen’s face planted on the old one. We already know what we’re getting with Allen, whereas Kalil is a bit of an unknown at this point.
The last time we remember Allen trading barbs with a heralded rookie was in 2009 stating that Michael Oher was “just a rookie trying to build his self-confidence up” after Oher said “Guy makes like $100 million… think I did all right” after allowing Allen just one sack. While one sack in a game seems like par for Allen, it was only Oher’s 2nd game ever at left tackle and Allen entered that sixth game of the season with 6.5 sacks on a dominant Vikings team. Oher has gone on to be a solid starting tackle for a marquee franchise and if several days of practice are any indication… Mr. Kalil is well on his way towards helping the one we pull for become one again.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig