Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
Matt Kalil has played phenomenally in his rookie campaign.
Part of the reason the Vikings were awful last season was that their offensive line was unreliable, at best.
It allowed 49 sacks (fifth most) and 76 QB hits (tied for 15th most). Steve Hutchinson was past his prime and Charlie Johnson wasn't made to be a left tackle. Phil Loadholt was regressing and Anthony Herrera wasn't healthy.
Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart had to fight for every yard and make their own plays.
Fast forward to seven games into the 2012 season and the offensive line has been one of the strengths of this team. It's protecting Christian Ponder adequately and opening plenty of holes for Peterson.
Matt Kalil, the fourth pick in the 2012 draft, has been phenomenal at protecting Ponder's blindside. He's not the league's best run-blocker, but he's adequate. He's well-positioned to be the left tackle in Minnesota for the next 10 years if he so chooses.
Johnson has transitioned seamlessly to left guard and forms a strong left side with Kalil.
Brandon Fusco and Loadholt aren't as strong as the left side, but the Vikings are obviously happy with Loadholt because they're in contract negotiations with him.
The line has allowed 16 sacks and 31 QB hits this season, on pace for roughly 32 sacks and 62 hits.
It hasn't played its best football the past three games, allowing eight sacks, but the Vikings have to be happy with the unit's performance as a whole.