Posted July 26, 2012 on
AP on Fox
The biggest beneficiary of Matt Kalil's arrival in Minnesota is unquestionably quarterback Christian Ponder.
Whether with dinner, golfing or joyriding on teammate Kyle Rudolph's boat, Ponder has pounced on the opportunity to welcome Kalil to the Vikings, fully realizing how much he needs his rookie left tackle to protect him this season and beyond. So, naturally, Ponder was the one who picked up Kalil at the airport Thursday on his way to sign his first NFL contract.
''I should take at least half of a percent,'' Ponder said.
The day before the first practice of training camp, Kalil signed a four-year contract worth almost $20 million with more than $12 million guaranteed, the last and most important member of the team's draft class to finalize a deal. Kalil, the fourth overall selection from USC, had no interest in holding out.
''You want to get in sync with the offensive players and learn everything you can,'' Kalil said. ''Any day missed could have hurt me.''
That's exactly what head coach Leslie Frazier wanted to hear.
''He's a key part of what we're trying to do in 2012, and I don't know who his happier, him or Christian Ponder,'' Frazier said.
Since Ponder introduced himself on Kalil's first day at Winter Park after the draft, they've become fast friends.
''We've been hanging out every day since. It was an immediate connection,'' Kalil said.
Ponder is quite the socialite among his teammates, a sign of not only an outgoing guy but a player with understanding of his leadership responsibility at the most critical position on the team.
''It's important for us to build those relationships off the field and get to know each other on a personal level, and it makes things so much easier when something is going wrong or something is going right to talk about different things,'' Ponder said.
Kalil has been at the top of his list.
''He's a great guy. He's a fun guy to be around, and hopefully we'll be together in a Vikings uniform for a long time,'' Ponder said. ''That's what's exciting about this team. We're so young, and a lot of us can be together for a long time.''
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BEST OF MAXIM
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. There will be no holdouts for the Minnesota Vikings.
On the day players are reporting to Mankato, Minn., for training camp, the team and No. 4 overall draft pick Matt Kalil agreed to terms on a four-year contract, reportedly worth more than 32.5 million.
Kalil, the draft's top offensive line prospect, was one of 10 selections by the Vikings in April'...
First-round draft choice Matt Kalil is the last of 10 draft picks to sign with the Vikings. The holdup is a battle between the Vikings setting a precedent and rookies wanting more money guaranteed.
According to Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer-Press, the Minnesota Vikings and rookie offensive tackle Matt Kalil have agreed on a four-year deal that is fully guaranteed.
Kalil’s contract won’t contain any offset language, so if he gets released before his contract is up, the Vikings will owe him all of his guaranteed money, even if he signs with another team.
The Minnesota Vikings signed offensive tackle Matt Kalil to a four-year contract worth $20 million, beating the team's 4 p.m. CT deadline for players to report to training camp in Mankato. Kalil, the fourth pick in the 2012 draft, is likely to start at left tackle. He was the first offensive lineman drafted in '12. The Vikings traded from the No. 3 spot in a deal that enabled...
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