MANKATO, Minn. -- Matt Kalil was the fourth overall pick in the draft, out of the powerhouse program at USC. He's still a rookie, though, so he has a lot to learn.
Well, the Minnesota Vikings have just the teacher for him. His name is Jared Allen, and he'll be here all year.
"It should be real good for Matt to go against maybe the best defensive end in the National Football League on a daily basis in practice, and I think it will be good for Jared as well because Matt is going to challenge him," coach Leslie Frazier said. "He may be a rookie, but we think he's going to be a rookie who can play above being a rookie."
He'll have to against Allen, a ninth-year veteran who had 22 sacks last season. That put him within one-half sack of Michael Strahan's NFL record, about the only bright spot on a 3-13 record.
"I think he'll help me in any way he can," Kalil said. "He's a good team player, and he wants to help the team get some wins. That's the whole goal." The kid has to make sure to keep his hands to himself, though."
"As long as he doesn't punch me in the face and grab my jersey when I'm coming around the edge, I'll be fine," Allen said, half-jokingly. "I'm going to help him get better, and he's going to help me get better. I don't play Matt Kalil, so me figuring out ways to beat him in training camp absolutely does me nothing."
That's a bit nicer than Allen's comments to NBC SportsTalk last week, when he said: "Iâm too old to deal with overzealous rookies right now. Keep your hands out of my face, donât grab my jersey and we wonât have to fist fight. Thatâs pretty much what it is."
Long practices in the sun can turn even the friendliest of players into cranks, so there's certainly the possibility that this matchup could lead to some harsh words or shoves back and forth.
"I'm going to set a level of how I always practice, a standard that we expect around here, but at the end of the day it's your job to come out here and work," Allen said. "It's your job to come out here and get ready to play. And if you're not that guy, we'll find out and we'll go on without you."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press