Not all big guys are created with equal metabolisms.
Phil Loadholt, Matt Kalil and Kevin Williams are three high-profile Vikings, especially if "high profile" is measured in height and weight.
Loadholt is listed at 6-foot-8, 343 pounds. Kalil, the other bookend tackle on the Vikings' offensive line, has a roster listing of 6-foot-7, 308 pounds. Williams, the most tenured Viking on the roster, is a defensive tackle listed at 6-foot-5 and 311 pounds.
The heights seem accurate. The weights will and do fluctuate depending on the time year and even by the time of day. Just ask Loadholt.
"I actually lose sometimes eight to 10 pounds, just in our one practice. So we've got to stay on top of our hydration," said the massive tackle who says his playing weight is actually eight pounds lighter than his listed weight of 343. "Our trainers do a great job with that. But even my rookie year, when we did have the two-a-days and things like that, you could lose eight pounds in the morning and eight at night, so you just have to replenish yourself after those practices."
Loadholt's challenge is keeping his weight down, and he said he checked into training camp three weeks ago at his desired 335 pounds. A few days into feasting on the impressive selection of food offered to players and staff, he gained five to eight pounds, but within a week he was back to his preferred 335 pounds.
Kalil is just the opposite. He has to consume close to 6,000 calories a day to keep the weight on.
"People think it's fun, but when you want to throw up after eating so much …" Kalil said at the start of training camp, saying he does get to that point sometimes. "The food's not that bad, but I've got to keep eating all the time, otherwise I lose it fast. I've got to stay on top of it."
Loadholt just laughs and admits he and Kalil have far different struggles with their weight.
Williams joined the Vikings as a first-round defensive tackle in 2003 and has been making the grade – and weight clauses – ever since then. He turns 33 years old Friday and has become accustomed to the pre-camp routine of trying to make weight.
"It's a little concern, but if you're doing your job, working out in the offseason, you shouldn't have much of a problem," he said.
Two years ago, offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie wasn't doing his offseason job of staying in shape. He showed up to camp close to 400 pounds, according to one report, and wasn't allowed to practice. He started camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and a few days later he was released.
The PUP list is a subjective beast, and being a couple pounds overweight at the start of camp doesn't automatically prompt the coaches and medical staff to place a player on that reserve list.
"It depends on the guy. Bigger guy, if you're way over weight, we've seen in the past guys go the PUP list for different reasons. I think we had Big Mac do it once before," Williams said, referencing McKinnie. "If you're a smaller guy, you run a lot more, I think you'll get a little more leeway to lose that weight."
Players are prescribed a training camp weight before they leave following minicamp, allowing them four or five weeks to either maintain or get it right.
"As coach says, it behooves you to be at that weight," Williams said.
Loadholt, who says he doesn't count calories, believes the key is simply self-control. Before training camp, many players will put themselves through strenuous workouts and the temptation is to overeat after one of those is completed.
"I just try to eat the right things and my main thing is when I eat my meats, my portion control on stuff like that," Loadholt said. "I eat as many vegetables and stuff like that as I want to. I'm not really a calorie counter, though."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Weight issues vary for different linemen
Viking Update Top Stories
Vikings try to keep the faithThe Minnesota Vikings are in dire straits with their playoff hopes, but they believe they have the “grit” to win out and make the playoffs.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 12:12 PM
Zimmer returns to work, expected to travelThe Minnesota Vikings got head coach Mike Zimmer back on Monday.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 7:20 AM
Just Win (Four), BabyThe Minnesota Vikings need some help to make the playoffs. They didn't get much Sunday as Detroit and Tampa Bay improved their own postseason stock.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 5:52 AM
Sunday slant: Don’t blame BradfordSam Bradford has been getting criticism from some fans and observers, but a look at numerous analytics, and an overall view of the game, shows just how good he has been without…
Viking UpdateSunday at 1:57 PM