Kalil should elarn from Allen in camp

The Sports Xchange

--The Vikings feel left tackle Matt Kalil, the fourth overall pick, will be primed and ready to go by opening day. Why? Because he'll face Jared Allen every day in practice during training camp. Allen's 22 sacks a year ago came within half a sack of the NFL record set by former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan.

"I'm excited to go against the best defensive end in the NFL day in and day out in Jared Allen," Kalil said. "I think he is definitely going to make me a better player and to go against a lot of other good defensive ends in the NFL. I think it's more excitement for the challenge to really test my skills."

Kalil might be in line for a nice endorsement deal from Ford. His college coach, Lane Kiffin, said on Thursday night that Kalil has already purchased his dream automobile - a Ford F-150.

"I'm low key," Kalil said. "Even though I'm from L.A. and Hollywood, that doesn't represent my personality at all. I kind of like to hang out with my friends, play a lot of football, that's what I love to do. My dream car is a Ford truck, a brand new Ford F-150. That's the kind of guy I am and I also love to be a good teammate and a good family man."

--The Vikings are counting on safety Harrison Smith becoming a team leader eventually. Smith, the 29th overall pick, was a two-time team captain at Notre Dame.

"Going to Notre Dame and being a captain, you're already on a big stage," Smith said. "And then once you're the captain you're getting scrutinized, win or lose. You know there's ups and downs along the road. So I have dealt with being a leader of a team that's gone through things. Knowing how to deal with guys and helping younger guys, interact with the coaches. Being the guy in between the players and the coaches. I think it's just given me a whole lot of experience you can't really find in any other role."

--General manager Rick Spielman joked that the team was close to its quota on Notre Dame players. Smith makes it four along with center John Sullivan and tight ends Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson. The Fighting Irish brotherhood was quick to bond with Smith on draft day.

"Yeah, John Sullivan texted me right away," Smith said. "Rudy (Kyle Rudolph) texted me right away. I still haven't talked to Carlson but I'm sure I will soon. So you know, once you go to a school like that and play together there is a close bond there. We are all excited to play together again."

--Third-round pick Josh Robinson grew up in Sunrise, Fla., and went to Central Florida. In other words, he doesn't have a winter coat heading to Minneapolis.

"I have never seen snow," he said. "I have seen a few flakes, but nothing ever big. So I know that will be another thing that I get to do."

"I wasn't expecting to be drafted. I was out on the river when (the Vikings) called. This is the best thing that's ever happened to me." - Southern Cal tight end/fullback Rhett Ellison, who was taken in the fourth round with the 128th overall pick.

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