The incredible shrinking Matt Kalil

May, 2, 2013
5/02/13
12:45
PM ET
For relatively unusual reasons, we spent a fair amount of time last offseason discussing the issue of Matt Kalil's weight.

[+] EnlargeMatt Kalil
Jim Mone/AP PhotoVikings left tackle Matt Kalil, now at 305 pounds, meets with reporters after conditioning workouts on Wednesday, May 1, in Eden Prairie, Minn.
It seemed that Kalil was a 6-foot-6 athlete who had to work to maintain an offensive lineman's weight. During the run-up to the 2012 draft, Kalil was consuming a daily 6,500-calorie diet to bulk up and maintain a prescribed 310 pounds.

Most athletes -- not to mention you and me -- would prefer that "problem" over than the alternative. But this week, the Minnesota Vikings' left tackle reminded us just how much of a daily responsibility he has. He told reporters that a late-season illness, which forced him from a handful of practices but no games, was actually pneumonia. He couldn't eat for a few days and as a result lost between 15-20 pounds during that period. His weight dipped as low as 280 before he resumed offseason workouts.

Kalil is back up to 305 pounds and plans to play 2013 at 315 pounds.

Many more offensive linemen, including Kalil's predecessor with the Vikings, spend their careers fighting the reverse effect. They must work to keep their weight low enough to be effective.

But Kalil is not alone in his challenge. Look no further than the San Francisco 49ers' Joe Staley, who was a 250-pound college tight end before coaches shifted him to tackle. As this extensive feature from 49ers.com explains, Staley gained 50 pounds via eating to play the position and has now developed a detailed diet to maintain his weight.

That Kalil finished the 2012 season without incident is impressive. He played all 1,035 of the Vikings' official offensive snaps along with another 140 on special teams. As best as I can tell, that was the highest total of combined offensive/special teams snaps for any NFL player.

Think of it this way: Kalil finished the year weighing two pounds more than Alabama tight end Michael Williams, whom the Detroit Lions drafted last weekend. Maybe it's time for the Vikings to put in a couple tackle eligible plays for their red zone offense.

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