The 2014 season was a rough one for Minnesota Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil. The former fourth-overall pick struggled through knee pain to start all 16 games, but his performance as a blind-side protector was subpar.

However, after undergoing knee surgeries this offseason, Kalil is finally pain-free and enjoying the game again.

"Football is fun again," Kalil said, via ESPN's Ben Goessling. "You can actually work on stuff. You can improve; you can get better. That's what I feel I'm doing right now, especially going against Everson [Griffen]. That's making me a lot better."

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Kalil hasn't missed a single start through three NFL seasons, making him a reliable offensive lineman even when he's less than full strength. Now that he's healthy again, he should have no problem continuing that streak into the foreseeable future.

"I'm stronger, bigger. I'm quick again on my feet," Kalil said, per ESPN. "It's about getting that back. It's just a year of bad technique -- you've kind of got to break all those habits. But it's going along well."

With up-and-coming quarterback Teddy Bridgewater going into his second season, the Vikings should be placing a premium on his protection. Fielding a healthy Kalil will go a long way toward keeping the young passer upright.

(h/t ESPN)

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports