MANKATO — Perhaps it's the best compliment paid to an offensive lineman, but few people seem to be talking about Matt Kalil at Vikings Training Camp.
The second-year left tackle got considerable attention as a rookie after getting selected with the No. 4 overall pick last year. But after starting all 16 games, blocking for most valuable player Adrian Peterson and keeping quarterback Christian Ponder fairly upright, Kalil may be the least of the Vikings' concerns this summer.
Kalil's certainly not coasting through camp, though.
"The bar is raised even more," he said. "I want to have the same performance or even go a notch above that and do even better ... I'll approach each season the same way.
"I've got a lot to learn. I'll never know everything; there's always something I can learn, always something I can get better at."
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Kalil wants to be the best player at one of the most important positions in the NFL.
Kalil sure got off to a good start. Playing every offensive snap last season, he was charged with just three sacks allowed, and the one holding penalty he was called for was declined. That kind of performance keeps the eyes on Peterson and Ponder. But it can't be overlooked as a key factor in the Vikings' turnaround, playoff season.
"I know our offensive line coach Jeff Davidson is really stressing to him how you have to keep improving in our league," Frazier said. "Guys are studying him on tape, just like how he studies defensive lineman.
"They are trying to come up with ways to have success against him. There are some things we are working on to help him improve. He has to understand that, and I think he does."
Kalil said he loves watching film and trying to make himself a better, smarter player.
"As far as getting drafted where I did, you still have to prove yourself on the field," he said. "(The draft) doesn't mean anything. That's just a number to me."
So what's he working on? A little bit of everything.
"Fine-tuning ... things I didn't do well last year," said Kalil, who went to the Pro Bowl as an alternate. "Maybe a back-side cutoff on a play that I didn't do well on.
"Or any kind of technique thing that was kind of lagging throughout the whole season that I want to use this time to get better at. I think that's the thing — things I didn't do well on and making my weaknesses my strengths."
Being in his second season, he can concentrate on those things during training camp, where last year he was still getting acclimated to the NFL and the Vikings' offense.
"Things have come along a lot easier from last year," Kalil said. "Coming from (Southern California), we kind of ran a similar offense.
"But the language was a lot different so for me to try and convert that, I wouldn't say it was difficult, but it took a little more effort. So as far as me knowing the system now and reinforcing everything I learned last year makes it a lot easier."
Consistency on the offensive line starts with Kalil, but it runs straight across. That group — left guard Charlie Johnson, center John Sullivan, right guard Brandon Fusco and right tackle Phil Loadholt — also has quietly gone about its business at Minnesota State.
"You want to trust the guy you're playing next to," Kalil said.
And the line wants to be trusted by the players with the ball.
"The respect that (Ponder) has for our offensive line with all of those guys coming back, they have a great relationship between he and his offensive line," Frazier said. "That should help our football team. They really feel like they have his back in so many ways, and he knows that."