“It’s a longshot. If I come back, it’s a three-month recovery until my hip is fully healthy,” he said. “That’s when I can start working out and strength training is the three-month mark. I’ll be healthy, but physically …”
Physically there is a big difference between starting to work out and being NFL game-ready. After hip surgery in late September, his workouts wouldn’t even begin until late December.
For now, his focus is on his recovery, not his return, but he admitted it has been difficult to watch his teammates without him being there to contribute.
“I’m just taking it day by day. It’s just hard for me to watch from the aspect that I want to be out there and play with all those guys. I’ve never watched the team I’ve played on, ever, in my whole career, play on TV,” he said. “Maybe my redshirt freshman year in college when I wasn’t playing. Other than that, it’s tough. A tough situation. I just try to stay busy and do my rehab and do everything I can physically to heal as fast as I can and do stuff around the house.”
The Vikings can only bring one player back off of injured reserve and the list of players on reserve continues to grow. Right now, it seems more likely that running back Adrian Peterson would be the guy most ready to return before the end of the season.
“They’d probably choose him,” Kalil said. “He’s making a lot more than I do.”
Although Kalil had never missed a game in the NFL until his hip injury this year, he has played through numerous other injuries and at times struggled to live up to expectations. But he said he doesn’t pay attention to the criticism he or his teammates at tackle have received.
“It doesn’t affect me. It’s just part of playing the game,” he said. “There’s people that hate you; there’s people that love you. It doesn’t affect me. As long as my teammates like playing next to me that’s all I care about.”