Free agent left tackle Matt Kalil is expected to sign with either the Vikings or the Panthers, according to Peter Schrager of FOX Sports (Twitter link), who adds that clubs are waiting for the first left tackle “domino” to fall.
A reunion with the Vikings would see Kalil staying with the only club he’s ever played for during his five-year career. Minnesota selected Kalil fourth overall in the 2012 draft, and witnessed him excel during his rookie campaign. It’s been all downhill since, however, as Kalil has struggled to live up to his first-year production. In 2016, Kalil managed less than 200 snaps before going down with injury.
Kalil, 27, has indicated a preference to stay with the Vikings, and general manager Rick Spielman has also expressed his desire to re-sign the sixth-year pro. “We have a plan in place on everything,” Spielman said last month. “But I also know I have a pretty good history of trying to keep our own guys as well.” Minnesota’s offensive line was perhaps the league’s worst last year, so while Kalil isn’t an elite option, he’s preferable to what the Vikings deployed at left tackle in 2016.
The Panthers’ interest in Kalil has been reported before, as Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer linked Kalil to Carolina earlier this week. As of early this month, incumbent Panthers left tackle Michael Oher is still in the concussion protocol — even if he’s healthy, Oher could shift to the right side if Kalil is signed.
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