Matt Kalil’s Knees Are a Mess and He May Never Be Good Again


Holy crap, Matt Kalil’s knees are a worse mess than we thought.

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In a USA Today piece yesterday, Tom Pelissero revealed the full extent of embattled left tackle Kalil’s efforts this offseason to heal those problematic knees.

According to Pelissero, Kalil underwent arthroscopic surgery in January on both knees. In March, Kalil went to New Jersey to undergo some wacky experimental blood replacement procedure similar to but not exactly the same as the one Kobe Bryant famously underwent in Europe some time ago.

Kalil followed up the New Jersey procedure by undergoing platelet rich plasma therapy, a pain relief treatment for people with bad joints.

Matt Kalil may only be 25 but he basically has the knees of an old man. In his desperation to get his knees back to where they can function without giving him agony, Kalil seemingly has done everything but consult a witch doctor.

Fans won’t feel a ton of sympathy for Kalil I don’t imagine, even though he clearly had to battle through some significant pain last year in order to stay on the field.

Kudos to Kalil for showing the toughness to get out there despite the pain. If toughness were all it took, Matt Kalil would be a great left tackle.

Unfortunately it takes more than just the ability to grit your teeth and bear the agony to play left tackle at a high level in the NFL. After last year, there’s legitimate reason to question whether Kalil can get to that level.

Kalil showed flashes of being a good player in his rookie season, enough of them to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl after several other players dropped out of the game, but 2013 and 2014 did not go as planned.

By all evidence, Kalil’s main issue the last two years was the physical state of his knees, but the knees can’t account for everything. Bad knees don’t make you spar with fans in parking lots. At times Kalil seems to lack maturity and mental focus, and I’m not sure bad knees can excuse those things.

Yes, bad knees can throw off your balance and that’s not good news for a left tackle. Kalil himself admitted last season that he needed to adapt to the balance issues created by his knee problems, and to his credit he appeared to work that out late in the season.

But the USA Today report makes it seem like the knee problems are only going to get worse, making it a very long-shot that Kalil will ever again achieve the level of play he reached in 2012 when he looked like a potential star.

Finding out the sorry state of Kalil’s knees only adds more fuel to the belief that Minnesota would be wise to plan for life after Matt Kalil, sooner rather than later.

Minnesota did pick up Kalil’s $11 million option for 2015, but that option is non-guaranteed, so it’s not set in stone that he will be back.

The Vikings do have draft pick T.J. Clemmings coming into camp as a possible successor to Kalil, but Clemmings has dealt with his own medical issues and at any rate may not be suited to playing left tackle in the NFL.

As things stand right now, Matt Kalil is the sure starter at left tackle, bad knees and all. And if Kalil really struggles in 2015, because his knees fail him or because he can’t keep his head in the game, the Vikings really don’t have a replacement on the roster.

Like last year, Kalil will just have to fight through it and the Vikings will likely just have to live with Kalil no matter what. Teddy Bridgewater might want to buy some extra life insurance.

Next: Is Trae Waynes Overrated Garbage?

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