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Minnesota Vikings Pick Up Fifth Year Options On Harrison Smith and Matt Kalil

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Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

In a decision that isn't terribly shocking, the Minnesota Vikings have picked up the fifth-year options on both of their first-round picks from 2012, offensive tackle Matt Kalil and safety Harrison Smith.

Kalil was the fourth overall selection in 2012, and as a result the cost of his fifth-year option will be the transition player amount for offensive tackles, or a shade over $11 million. Smith, the 29th overall pick in the same draft, will cost significantly less. . .his fifth-year option cost will be an average of the third through twenty-fifth highest-paid players at the safety position.

Smith is almost certainly due for a contract extension from the team this year, as he is one of the cornerstones of a rapidly improving Vikings' defense. Kalil, on the other hand, is in a make-or-break season after an impressive rookie year followed by two years of decline.

Yes, the price tag on Kalil's option is expensive. However, I'm going to say something that I've attempted to emphasize in every story relating to this matter that folks, for whatever reason, seem intent not to listen to.

The fact that the Minnesota Vikings have picked up the fifth-year options on both of these players does not lock them into anything. The fifth-year option is only guaranteed in the case of injury, meaning that a player gets hurt so badly in 2015 that he can't play in 2016. If Matt Kalil is terrible again this year, the team can cut him without having to pay him the $11 million. This is simply a way for the Vikings to have slightly greater control over their personnel. Once again, the Vikings picking up Kalil's fifth-year option does not commit them to anything.

There, now people can commence to complaining that Kalil's option is too expensive and there's no way the Vikings should pay him that much.