Kalil hoping early surgery helps performance

Matt Kalil had surgery on both knees and Regenexx treatment after last season in hopes his knees are ready for the 2015 season.

Vikings offensive tackle Matt Kalil is working at Winter Park these days hoping to regain the level of play that sent him to the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2011, starting the comeback process after having arthroscopic surgery on both knees by legendary surgeon to the stars Dr. James Andrews earlier this year.

At the end of last season, Viking Update caught up with Kalil, who acknowledged he would be having a surgical procedure, done, but said it wouldn’t be invasive – “just cleaning some stuff up.”

According to USA Today, not only did Kalil have both of his knees scoped in January by Dr. Andrews, but he went to New Jersey to undergo a Regenexx procedure – which removes blood from a patient, processes it and re-injects it into the affected area, which in Kalil’s case is in his knee joints.

Regenexx procedures are non-surgical stem cell and blood platelet treatments that ease the pain of degenerative conditions that exist in joints. As part of the treatment Kalil also underwent platelet rich plasma therapy, which is said to speed healing following surgery.

The procedures were done immediately following the 2014 season because Kalil wished he had knee surgery earlier in the 2014 offseason instead of hoping it would heal on its own.

Kalil made it clear that the surgery wouldn’t set him back for any significant amount of time this year and that he’s focused on raising the level of his game to where it was before a dismal 2014 season.

“My plan is to have the best offseason I’ve ever had,” Kalil said. “The surgery won’t sent me back, so I intend to hit the ground running and attack my offseason workouts like never before.”

Kalil had a similar issue at the end of the 2013 last season that altered his offseason workout regimen and had him a step behind most of the year. He points to his offseason training as being his own worst enemy and realizes that the work he wasn’t doing last summer came back to bite him in the fall.

“The thing that messed me up last offseason was trying to get my knee back healthy,” Kalil said after the season. “I honestly didn’t work that much on technical stuff. I’ve always harped on technique and being fundamentally sound. That’s what I’ve always worked on in the offseason. This past offseason, I was so focused on doing stuff to strengthen my leg and I didn’t spend as much time as I should working on my kick step and taking my footwork steps. It showed up in the first half of the season. I was kind of behind. I felt like I was behind the 8-ball the whole time. It started at camp and it wasn’t until these last four or five weeks that I feel like I’ve caught up.”

While there may be some concern about how Kalil’s knees will hold up long-term, the feeling in the organization is that the surgery will help him be as healthy heading into a season as he has been in three years. Considering the growing enthusiasm about the Vikings being a sneaky, trendy wild card playoff pick in 2015, the Vikings will need Teddy Bridgewater’s blind side protector to be 100 percent.

  • Mike Wallace threw down an old-school gauntlet to other speedsters in the NFL, telling the Pioneer Press that he’s the fastest player in the NFL “without a doubt” and if anyone has a problem with that, he’s willing to race them to prove his point.”

  • From the “I Kid You Not” Department comes this: Before the end of last weekend’s drafts, some websites started publishing their first mock drafts for 2016. Even venerable Sports Illustrated got involved. They have the Vikings picking at No. 8 and taking wide receiver Laquon Treadwell of Ole Miss, who suffered a devastating broken leg and dislocated an ankle heading for a touchdown when rolled up from behind.

  • The Packers are the early prohibitive favorite to win the NFC North on the gambling website Bovada. The Packers are 1:3 favorites to win the division, followed by Detroit (9:2), the Vikings (9:1) and Chicago (12:1). The Vikings are 50:1 bets to win the Super Bowl.

  • Viking Update Top Stories