1:33pm: The Vikings have officially exercised their options on Smith and Kalil, the team announced in a press release.
9:43am: The Vikings intend to exercise their fifth-year options on safety Harrison Smith and offensive tackle Matt Kalil, a source tells Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (Twitter link). Smith’s option was viewed as a lock to be picked up, but Kalil’s outlook remained uncertain until today.
Since entering the league as the 29th overall pick in 2012, Smith has evolved into one of the NFL’s most effective free safeties — in 2014, he had his best year yet, compiling 92 tackles, five interceptions, and three sacks for the Vikes.
Kalil, on the other hand, has struggled. Although he earned a Pro Bowl berth in his rookie season, and has started all 48 regular season games at left tackle for Minnesota since being selected fourth overall, the 25-year-old has regressed over the last couple years, according to Pro Football Focus’ data (subscription required). PFF assigned Kalil a -21.1 grade as a pass blocker in 2014, which ranked 83rd out of 84 qualified tackles.
While Smith will earn a relatively modest $5.728MM for the 2016 season, Kalil’s option is significantly more expensive, at $11.096MM. Still, neither player’s salary is fully guaranteed until the first day of the 2016 league year, so as long as Kalil doesn’t sustain a significant injury, the Vikes will still be able to move on from him after this season if they so choose.