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Lunch Break, 8/26: Games showing healthier Kalil

The life of an offensive lineman is one of relative anonymity unless a sack or something else that is highly conspicuous occurs.

Matt Kalil hasn't missed a start in his first three seasons, but that also meant he played at less than 100 percent. The 2012 Pro Bowler worked through a knee injury last season but is feeling much better this year.

View images from the Tuesday, August 25 practice at Winter Park.

We pointed out a key block Kalil made on a third-down conversion scramble by Teddy Bridgewater in this week's After Further Review.

Andrew Krammer of 1500ESPN.com noted the assessment that Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner has on Kalil this preseason. Krammer wrote:

*Kalil, 26, didn't miss a snap [in 2014] as he played through chronic knee pain that resulted in arthroscopic surgeries on both knees from Dr. James Andrews in January. Kalil took extra steps to ease further knee pain and has said he feels healthy. He looks healthy through three exhibitions, in which he has played a total of 59 snaps. *

*On Monday, Turner gave Kalil another vote of confidence, this time without explaining why bad plays happened, because in Turner's estimation, there have been "very few." *

"Matt's playing good," Turner said. "Matt's had a good offseason, good training camp. He and Everson [Griffen] have had some great matchups all through training camp.

"My evaluation is always, 'Did his guy affect the play in a negative way?' and I think there have been very few plays where his guy has had a negative effect on the play. I think he's preparing himself to really have a strong year."

Bridgewater aiming big

Comfort in the pocket will no doubt help Bridgewater in his stated goal of completing more than 70 percent of his passes this season. Bridgewater is 22-for-28 this preseason (78.6 percent), and that's with opening last Saturday's stormfest against Oakland a little less on the mark than he was in his first two outings.

Mark Craig of the Star Tribune pointed out Bridgewater completed 72.1 percent of his passes over the final five weeks of his rookie season, which is double the success rate of the NFL's sharpshooter, Hall of Famer Arnie Herber, in 1932, the year the NFL began keeping official records for passing statistics.

Craig quoted Turner with pointing out:

"(Bridgewater) was making plays up the field. It would make me nervous if he was completing 72 percent and he wasn't making the plays up the field that we're capable of making."

*Turner stresses completion percentage, but not to the point where he wants his quarterback to be defensive and throw nothing but check downs. *

"Sometimes, the best thing you can do is check the ball down, and sometimes you have a guy running down the field and you have to give him a chance to catch the ball," Turner said. "This is what we've been working for. Teddy has a good balance for that."

From "sleeper" to "steal"?

Already named a fantasy football sleeper by Adam Rank, Bridgewater was dubbed as a possible "huge steal" in fantasy drafts by Adam Meyer of FOX Sports.

Meyer's "bold prediction" was that Bridgewater "will throw for over 4,000 yards." He added:

He could be a huge steal for your fantasy draft. Bridgewater concluded his rookie season by amassing 2,919 passing yards and he did this without a true number one receiver...or running back. Greg Jennings caught 59 passes for 742 yards for the Vikingsin 2014. Both of those stats led the team. Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon each rushed for over 500 yards as the co-RB1s. This year, Adrian Peterson is back and Minnesota added Mike Wallace to lead the receiving corps. With those two options in Bridgewater's arsenal, I see no reason why he can't add 1,100 yards to his rookie numbers. The combination of Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder *combined for 3,455 passing yards in 2013, with a full season of AP.*

Quick Hitters

ESPN.com's Ben Goessling with some interesting stats on the Vikings running out of the shotgun.

Viking Update's Eric Oslund on the Vikings depth at linebacker and a look at Brandon Watts.

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