Minnesota Vikings first-round draft pick Matt Kalil is among the 13 players from the 2012 NFL Draft still without a contract. According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, the delay in a deal is due to the Vikings' insistence that the contract include offset language on what will be a fully guaranteed contract worth nearly $20 million.
With Vikings rookies and veterans not scheduled to report to training camp until Thursday, and not scheduled to hit the practice field until Friday, it's understandable why they would be digging in their heels at this point in the talks. They're still approaching the 11th hour and feel they have precedent on their side. They also know that if a deal is not struck when rookies and veterans report to camp, it will be the player who incorrectly will be labeled a "holdout".
That said, there's really no reason for the Vikings to play hardball with a player they're counting on to be a bookend tackle for the next decade. Left tackles tend to be sound draft investments. Kalil has prototype left tackle size and athleticism, solid NFL bloodlines (brother, Ryan, is a three-time Pro Bowl player for the Carolina Panthers) and played in a premier college program (USC). Even if he's not the next Walter Jones or Joe Thomas, Kalil always could be moved to right tackle and would be bargain at a little over $5 million in base salary over the final two seasons (2014 to 2015) of the contract.
Kalil's agent (Tom Condon of CAA Football) wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't try to avoid offset language, a feat he previously accomplished with the contract for Luke Kuechly, the No. 9 overall pick by the Carolina Panthers. Condon also has precedent from the 2012 draft class on his side. The top three picks in the draft -- Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Trent Richardson -- do not have offset language in their contracts. No. 6 overall pick Morris Claiborne avoided offset language in his deal with the Dallas Cowboys, as did No. 7 overall pick Mark Barron in his contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Like Kalil and Kuechly, Griffin, Richardson and Barron are represented by CAA Football.