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Injured Kalil says he hopes to return to Vikings next year

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--Matt Kalil hopes a season-ending hip injury won't hurt his chances of re-signing with the Vikings. The left tackle, who underwent surgery for a torn right labrum following Week 2, becomes a free agent in March. The five-year ...

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.-Matt Kalil hopes a season-ending hip injury won't hurt his chances of re-signing with the Vikings.

The left tackle, who underwent surgery for a torn right labrum following Week 2, becomes a free agent in March. The five-year veteran said Monday his top priority is to return to Minnesota.

"I'd love to stay here the rest of my career," Kalil said. "This is the team I started out with in the NFL, and I've been playing with these guys. I've met a lot of great friends here, my wife is from here. It'd be a good place to finish my career."

It might not be that easy. Kalil might have to take a pay cut from the $11.096 million he is making this season, and his health could be a factor in negotiations.

"I don't think so," Kalil said. "I will have a full recovery. That's what happens. People get hurt in football."

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Kalil was placed on injured reserve following his injury and is technically eligible to return this season. But that's not a realistic possibility, he said. It will take a full three months from his Sept. 23 surgery for his hip to heal, and he wouldn't be in any sort of game shape.

Kalil said his injury was caused over time.

"It was things with the anatomy of my body," he said. "It was kind of bound to happen, so they fixed that and restructured everything so it won't happen again."

Kalil anticipates being a full strength for spring workouts. Until then, all he can do is watch the Vikings, who have lost four straight following a 5-0 start.

"It's just tough to watch," he said. "I want to be out there. I want to play. I love the guys I play with, and I know they'll get back on track. It's a tough situation with a lot of guys getting injured."

Kalil initially was replaced first by by T.J. Clemmings, then by Jake Long, who signed a free-agent deal on Oct. 11. However, Long, in his third start, sustained a season-ending torn left Achilles tendon in a 26-20 loss Sunday at Washington.

Torn knee ligaments ended Long's 2013 and 2014 seasons, and he was limited to 11 snaps late last season with Atlanta. He didn't play this year until joining the Vikings.

"I feel for Jake Long," Kalil said. "He's got plenty of money, so you know he's here because he just loves the game of football and wants to play it. It seems like he was getting in a groove and was playing well."

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