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Time is ticking ever closer to the 2012 NFL Draft and the Minnesota Vikings seem to be getting new rumors out every minute. Amidst tons of talk that they are planning on trading their pick down, specifically to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who currently own the fifth overall pick, NFL Network's Steve Wyche (As reported by ProFootballTalk) has reported that they are now leaning toward LSU CB Morris Claiborne.
Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reports that LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne is the No. 1 player on the Vikings’ draft board, and they are "leaning toward" drafting Claiborne with the No. 3 overall pick.
Per Wyche, the Vikings also "like [Claiborne] more" than USC tackle Matt Kalil.
It's been fairly well established that the Vikings are planning on either taking Claiborne, Matt Kalil or trading their pick down so expect the rumors to continue to swirl in all three of those directions several more times before the draft finally arrives and the Vikings finally cut the suspense by making their move.
For more on the Minnesota Vikings, head over to The Daily Norseman. For more news and information on the NFL, head over to SB Nation's NFL hub and for more on the NFL Draft as the hours tick closer, head to SB Nation's specialized NFL Draft hub.
The Minnesota Vikings have been blowing smoke all over the place in the past month or so about what they're planning to do with their third overall pick in Thursday's first round of the NFL draft. It's pretty much down to two guys at this point, Matt Kalil and Morris Claiborne.
Of course, that assumes that they don't trade their pick away.
It's looking more and more likely that the third overall pick won't actually be in the Vikings possession after the draft starts, with both Adam Schefter and John Clayton tweeting on draft day that the Vikings are looking to move their pick around. Clayton in particular was specific enough to point out that they were looking to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move up with Kalil and Claiborne -- two of the best talents in the draft -- up for the taking.
The Vikings continue to talk Claiborne and Kalil, hoping to get Tampa Bay to trade up. Still think they go Kalil.
The question is, how much are the Vikings asking from Tampa to only trade up two spots?
For more on the Minnesota Vikings, head over to The Daily Norseman. For more news and information on the NFL, head over to SB Nation's NFL hub and for more on the NFL Draft as the hours tick closer, head to SB Nation's specialized NFL Draft hub.
With the first two picks of the draft locked in, everything really begins with the Minnesota Vikings at No. 3. Plenty of scenarios have been discussed for Minnesota, including selecting LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil and trading the pick.
Here's the entire draft order for the first round:
|2||Washington Redskins (from STL)|
|5||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|6||St. Louis Rams (from WAS)|
|11||Kansas City Chiefs|
|16||New York Jets|
|17||Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK)|
|18||San Diego Chargers|
|22||Cleveland Browns (from ATL)|
|27||New England Patriots (from NOR)|
|28||Green Bay Packers|
|30||San Francisco 49ers|
|31||New England Patriots|
|32||New York Giants|
While they might have submitted their final mock drafts before the news broke that the Vikings might be leaning towards LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne, both ESPN's Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. have Minnesota selecting USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
As Kiper Jr. explains, though, Minnesota is nowhere near settled with any decision:
Shifting this one back to an offensive line pick, though word is the Vikings are still actively trying to move down. The Vikings could go three different ways, and are still deciding which is the best route to take.
The other option besides Claiborne and Kalil is to trade the pick. Several teams have reportedly been in contact with the Vikings to move up to No. 3 and take Claiborne, Kalil or Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
The top two picks for Thursday are pretty much set, but have the Minnesota Vikings took away even more drama by already settling on their pick at No. 3? It seems as though that might be the case as Minnesota is leaning towards LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, if they don't trade the pick.
Most mock drafts had the Vikings selecting USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil with the third pick, but the Vikings seem to like Claiborne more. Rather than choose Kalil, Minnesota appears content to select an offensive tackle at the beginning of the second round.
If the rumors play out, then the Minnesota Vikings could have their cake and eat it too. Which, translated from cliche to English, means they could trade down, pick up a second-round pick and still get one of the three players they covet.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' supposed love affair with Trent Richardson could give the Vikings big-time leverage with their pick at No. 3 -- one slot ahead of the Cleveland Browns, who are also apparently enamored with Richardson.
NBC Sports had this to say about the Bucs-Richardson-Browns saga:
All the reports out of Minnesota suggest that the Vikings have three players they're considering with the third overall pick: USC left tackle Matt Kalil, Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. If the Vikings have equal grades on all three guys, the perfect scenario would be to trade down just far enough that they can be sure they'll get one of those three.
A trade with the Buccaneers would be just the deal to do that.
Alabama running back Trent Richardson appears to be a player the Bucs, with the fifth overall pick, absolutely love. But he also appears to be a player the Browns, with the fourth overall pick, absolutely love. And so a Bucs-Vikings trade is the only way for the Bucs to get ahead of the Browns and get Richardson....
If that happens, and if the Browns take Claiborne, then the Vikings could choose between Kalil and Blackmon. Lots of ifs, but then again it's Draft day.
Mock draft orthodoxy has, for whatever reason, shifted away from Matt Kalil in the last few days. Kalil seemed to be considered a lock for the Vikings not long ago, and indeed SB Nation had Kalil slotted in at No. 3 as well. But now SB Nation has joined Todd McShay in declaring Claiborne the man for Minnesota at No. 3.
If taken at No. 3, Claiborne would be the highest drafted corner since Charles Woodson went fourth in 1998.
Ryan Van Bibber, who penned SB Nation's final mock, is not all-in on Claiborne-over-Kalil. But he thinks the schedule -- with annual meetings against Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford -- could be a deciding factor:
There is a real sense out there that Claiborne could be the pick, given who they play against four times a year.
The conjecture about the third pick with end Thursday, with the Draft kicking off at 7 Central.
The 2012 NFL Draft begins on Thursday night. We've decided to submit our final mock draft, then, featuring the Minnesota Vikings still taking Matt Kalil.
Casserly, who works for CBS Sports and NFL Network, tweeted the rumor Wednesday, saying that the Bills covet USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil and would be willing to fork over a second-round pick for the rights to No. 3 as they attempt to move up from the tenth pick.
NBC Sports was among the outlets to report the news, writing that the Bills might have delusions of grandeur.
While it's sensible that the Bills would target a left tackle, the approach in Casserly's report hints that Buffalo believes itself to be one player away from serious playoff, even Super Bowl contention. Most observers would probably disagree with that notion. But if G.M. Buddy Nix has identified Kalil as a truly elite, franchise-caliber left tackle capable of making quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick better, there shouldn't be anyone trying to stop him.
The Bills' second-round pick is No. 41 overall, thought it could take even more than that to get a deal done.
The 2012 NFL Draft is quite important for the Minnesota Vikings considering they have the third overall pick and, as it stands Thursday morning, the first decision to make considering the Indianapolis Colts plan to take Andrew Luck and the Washington Redskins are expected to follow that selection up with Robert Griffin III.
The choice for the Vikings seems to be down to Matt Kalil, Morris Claiborne or trading back, but the decision between those three options likely won't happen until the the draft starts on Thursday night. Knowing that, it probably makes sense to answer the question "What time does the 2012 NFL Draft start?"
The Draft will begin at 7 p.m. Central Time on ESPN and will continue until the first round is complete. The second and third rounds will start at 6 p.m. on Friday night and then everything will wrap up beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. The NFL Network will also have full coverage, though that was likely expected for everyone interested enough to check out what time the NFL Draft starts.
Get even more 2012 NFL Draft coverage, scouting reports, teams needs, etc. at Mocking the Draft. For more Vikings coverage, check out Daily Norseman. Be sure to visit SB Nation's NFL hub for the broader view.
I still think this one could go a few ways. The Vikings could target offensive line as we've had them pegged throughout this process, or they could trade down. But my hunch for now says they'll go with Claiborne, the gifted corner out of LSU. It's a need spot, and if they can't get a deal done to move down -- and I believe that's their preferred route -- he fits.
Claiborne made 51 tackles and six interceptions in his junior year at LSU. He is considered the top defensive back by most draft experts.
With speculation swirling as to whether the Minnesota Vikings will be trading the number three overall selection in Thursday night's NFL Draft, Chad Reuter of NFL.com projects what he thinks the Vikings will do with their first pick as well as what the other seven-rounds have in store:
1 (3) Matt Kalil, OT, USC
2 (35) Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
3 (66) Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
4 (98) Terrell Manning, LB, North Carolina State
4 (128) Marcus Forston, DT, Miami
4 (134) Adam Gettis, OG, Iowa
5 (138) Phillip Thomas, FS, Syracuse
6 (175) Audie Cole, LB, North Carolina State
7 (210) Mike Harris, CB, Florida State
7 (223) Dale Moss, WR, South Dakota State
As you can see, Reuter believes that the Vikings will indeed hold onto the pick and will select Matt Kalil. Stating that there aren't many sure-fire left tackle prospects, he believes the team should pick Kalil and adress their other needs later in the draft.
After projecting that wide receiver Rueben Randle will be selected with their second pick, Reuter sees the Vikings addressing the defensive side of the ball with their next three picks before drafting offensive guard Adam Gettis with their final selection in the fourth round.
On the eve of the 2012 NFL draft, it's clear that only Matt Kalil and Morris Claiborne should be considered for the Vikings and the #3 overall pick.
Apparently, things are starting to heat up for the Minnesota Vikings and the third pick in Thursday night's draft. According to Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, other team's are starting to call about the possibility of trading up to acquire the Vikings' third overall selection.
Originally assumed to be locked into taking Southern California left tackle, Matt Kalil, other players such as LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon have been targeted as potential players of interest to the Vikings. Now it appears as though those same players may be used as bargaining chips in a potential trade.
Coming off a dismal 3-13 season in 2011-12, the Vikings are looking to do whatever they can to improve their team, even if that means moving their top selection in order to add additional assests.
However, Spielman has made it clear that the only way he moves the pick is if the offer on the other end is too good for him to pass up.
"If there is some kind of deal where you can set up the future of the organization not only this year but potential picks in the future as well?" Spielman said via Twincities.com. "You have to weigh that into consideration."
The crux of the article is that while Kalil is considered a safe pick, it's tough to build a franchise around a left tackle.
Ask the folks who have studied the star left tackle -- the NFL coaches, scouts, general managers and draft analysts -- and they all will sing a similar refrain: Kalil is as close to a can't-miss offensive line prospect as you'll find.
He's strong and athletic. His feet are quick, and his reach packs power. Best of all, he has an undeniable ferocity that fires his ambition to get better.
Realistically, Kalil could be a perennial Pro Bowler for the next 10 to 12 years....
So why might the decision prove more complicated?
"You've got to really weigh your options," Frazier said. "Because the philosophy [in the NFL] has always been to get the game-changer. And left tackle is not necessarily the game-changer. Usually game-changers are the guys who can score you points. Receivers. Quarterbacks. So what are we measuring that left tackle against? It's a loaded debate."
All that said, there are still no indications -- in that article or elsewhere -- that the Vikings will take anyone other than Kalil.
The NFL disclosed the 33 alumni who will announce the second and third round picks for their former teams. Anthony Carter will announce the selections for the Minnesota Vikings, according to Evan Silva of ProFootballTalk.
The Vikings select third in the second round with the 35th overall pick as well as third in the third round with 66th overall pick. Here is the complete list of NFL alumni who will announce picks.
Carter played played nine of his 11 NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He started 125 games at wide receiver for the Vikings, making 478 receptions for 7,636 yards and 52 touchdowns.
In Greg Cosell's first 2012 NFL Mock Draft on NFL.com, he projects the Minnesota Vikings selecting former South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore with the third overall pick. Cosell's mock draft is based on his own film study and assessment of team needs.
Here's what Cosell had to say about the pick:
The Vikings play in the same division with Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler. You cannot compete in the NFC North without quality corner play. For the Vikings in 2012, a corner is more important than a left tackle. Minnesota takes the best corner prospect in this draft: South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore has a chance to be a Charles Woodson type player down the road: athletic, physical and competitive, playing outside in the base defense and in the slot in the sub-packages.
Cosell rates Gilmore higher than former LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, but Minnesota GM Rick Spielman has already said that he will select either Claiborne, Matt Kalil or Justin Blackmon.
Despite rumors of the Vikings looking very hard at CB Morris Claiborne, SB Nation is sticking with USC OT Matt Kalil for the Vikings in the first round with the third overall selection. Of course, there's still a chance that the Vikings trade the pick as well but it looks like it's mostly down between Claiborne and Kalil.
Things start getting confusing here. A few are holding forth that the Vikings will pick Claiborne, a very realistic scenario. I still think they should go with Kalil. Don't over-think it.
Of course, this is the NFL draft so it's just about impossible to not over-think it. And the closer we get to Thursday when the Vikings finally make their call, the more over-thinking is going to be done.
The Minnesota Vikings likely aren't going to be trading the third overall pick this week or, if they do, it won't come cheap to the interested party. That doesn't mean that the Vikings aren't going to be interested in trading some of their other picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, however.
General manager Chris Spielman spoke to the media over the weekend about multiple things. One of the topics he touched on, according to 1500 ESPN, was the likelihood of moving back in the second and third rounds.
"The other thing you've got to look at," Spielman said, "is knowing the needs of the teams behind you, because there's a lot of potential for us in the second round and even in the third round to potentially move back if we feel that strong about the depth in those rounds where we can still get a good player and continue to add draft picks. I think that would be something we would be definitely interested in doing."
It'll be interesting to see exactly what happens as things progress closer to Thursday night.
Decisions, decisions. First-year Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has one heck of a tough one on his hands as the 2012 NFL Draft looms large, and it has nothing in the world to do with finding a new stadium.
The Vikings, owners of the No. 3 overall pick, appear to be entertaining the idea of swapping selections with either Tampa Bay (No. 5) or St. Louis (No. 6) in a blockbuster draft-day move. The two organizations presumably are both weighing the options of moving up to select Alabama running back Trent Richardson with Minnesota's third choice, as it's clear Richardson could no longer be on the board by the time the fifth or sixth picks are announced.
As Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press points out, Minnesota and Spielman will be seeking a second-round pick in addition to the swap at the bare minimum, and could theoretically be asking for more in an effort to determine St. Louis and Tampa Bay's respective desperation level. It all depends on how coveted Richardson ends up being when everyone's cards are eventually laid on the table.
The plan now is for Minnesota to continue to drum up interest in the No. 3 slot (and for that matter, Trent Richardson), as St. Louis and Tampa Bay and whoever else may be interested continue to formulate offers and weigh their options. If the Vikings are still able to land the player they covet at No. 5 or 6, then trading down two or three spots and landing an extra value pick or two in the process seems like a win-win.
In SportingNews' annual beat writers Mock Draft, Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune selected USC left tackle Matt Kalil for the Minnesota Vikings with the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Via Craig:
With several needs, the Vikings would prefer to trade down and acquire more picks. If they stand pat, Kalil is the best player available and fills a need by helping Christian Ponder.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman recently announced that he and his staff had whittled their list down to Kalil, former Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne if they keep the pick. Spielman has not ruled out the possibility of trading the pick, thought its unclear if any teams are interested in moving up to No. 3.
The Minnesota Vikings have narrowed their list of potential selections with the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to three players: left tackle Matt Kalil; cornerback Morris Claiborne; wide receiver Justin Blackmon, according to Jeremy Fowler of The St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Outside of a potential trade, the Vikings are not considering other prospects for the pick.
"What you're saying (to the staff) is, 'All these guys have equal ability,' " Spielman told the Pioneer Press. "What do you want? Do you want the receiver? Do you want the tackle? Do you want the corner?' "
The consensus among draft experts seems to be that the Vikings will select Kalil, but Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said a favorite has not emerged among the three prospects. Minnesota has glaring needs at all three positions.
Charlie Johnson had a very disappointing season at left tacke for the Vikings, while the secondary was probably the team's biggest weakness last season. Given the uncertain status of injured wide receiver Percy Harvin, Minnesota desperately needs to add to their receiving corps as well.
The Vikings do indeed have some solid wideouts. Percy Harvin, injuries notwithstanding, is a proven commodity. And last season Michael Jenkins had 38 catches and 466 yards in just 11 games. So he, too, is at least serviceable.
And that's why Fox Sports North's Brian Hall takes a long look at receiver in Thursday's article:
The Vikings have been willing to devote resources to the wide receiver position -- drafting Harvin in the first round and Sidney Rice in the second round in recent years, along with signing Bernard Berrian to a high-priced contract in 2008. The moves haven't all paid off. Berrian, the top wide receiver in his free-agent class, never developed into a No. 1 receiver, and Rice left after four years that will be most remembered for injuries that kept him off the field. But Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman knows the position is a weakness and likely won't be afraid to use early-round picks to address the situation.
Receiver needs or no, it is widely anticipated that the Vikings will use their No. 3 pick on USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
Mel Kiper's annual NFL mock drafts are things of legend so, when he writes something related to your favorite football team, it's certainly worth reading. The ESPN expert released a different version of his 2012 ruminations on Wednesday as he wrote what he thought teams should do, not necessarily what they will do.
Kiper's thought process on the Vikings was pretty well-reasoned. He opined the Vikings should take Matt Kalil if they are unable to trade down in the first round, Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Harrison Smith in the second round and Iowa Hawkeyes receiver Marvin McNutt in the third round for the reasons included below.
Analysis: Corner is a big need for me if I'm Minnesota, which is why I can see them very tempted on Morris Claiborne, but left tackle is equally important. If they don't protect Christian Ponder, they really won't be able to effectively audit his progress. I put trading down as an option because I do it if it's clear a team will give up a ton of value to get into that No. 3 slot, so the Vikings should be entertaining offers all the way. But if that can't happen, they should be plenty happy to add Kalil, a rare tackle ready to come in and start right away on the left side. The pick of Smith in Round 2 shores up a significant need at safety, and McNutt in Round 3 fills a void at wide receiver. He gives Minnesota a bigger target and different dimension to pair with the smaller Percy Harvin.
It's unlikely anyone is going to be mad about adding a left tackle in the first round followed by a defensive back and wide receiver with the Vikings next two picks, but did Kiper select the right players for Minnesota?
The Minnesota Vikings are widely expected to take USC offensive lineman Matt Kalil with the No. 3 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
But Sports Illustrated's Peter King recently implored the Vikes to buck convention and take LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. King writes:
I don't get it. I know the Vikes want to protect Christian Ponder from eternal damnation (and a boatload of sacks), but they have six games a year against Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford, who'll throw a combined 100 TD passes each season. Minnesota's secondary is horrible-even worse than its offensive line. The Vikings don't need a corner. They need two.
Taking Claiborne at No. 3 would put him in rarified air for a cornerback. Since 2002, just three corners have gone in the top five: Quentin Jammer ('02), Terence Newman ('03) and Patrick Peterson ('10).
Charles Woodson, who was drafted No. 4 overall in 1998, was the last corner to go before No. 5.
That could change, of course, if the Vikings heed King's advice.
The 2012 NFL Draft is just 12 days away, and it's par the course for the Minnesota Vikings. Shortly after the season ended and the mock drafts really started cranking up, most had the Vikings taking either offensive tackle Matt Kalil to protect Christian Ponder, 2011's first-round pick or Justin Blackmon, to provide said 2011 first-round pick with some offensive firepower. In recent weeks, however, there's less and less of Blackmon at No. 3 and more and more of Kalil.
On top of that, there's very little activity in regards to a potential trade, or at least there's none on the surface. As the Pioneer Press notes, there's little to no trade buzz, though the Vikings are apparently open to dealing if general manager Rick Spielman can be wowed:
Though general manager Rick Spielman has made clear he's waiting to be wowed by a trade, I'm told trade buzz inside Vikings headquarters has been quiet in recent weeks. There could be a number of reasons why this is the case: A) There are still 11 days until the draft, B) The Vikings haven't been impressed by what's out there, or C) They are comfortable holding onto left tackle Matt Kalil or whomever they take at the third overall spot.
Of course, there's still plenty of time for something to happen in regards to a trade, but the popular opinion is that the Vikings are happy with Kalil. Minnesota is also eyeing how much the Redskins gave up to move into the No. 2 spot and are hoping for something similar for their pick if they do move out, but then again, the Redskins were moving to draft their franchise quarterback.
And it's not likely anybody will be moving in to the No. 3 spot to take Ryan Tannehill.
The Minnesota Vikings will host Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd and Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick on predraft visits sometime next week, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press Vikings blog.
Neither are expected to be realistic options when the Vikings select third overall, but the Vikings might be looking to trade back if they can find a willing partner. If that’s the case, Floyd and Kirkpatrick could be attractive options. Both are considered by many analysts to be the second-best prospects at their respective positions.
Minnesota also held a private workout with Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe. Poe is praised for his versatility and is expected to be off the board somewhere in the middle to late first round.
As SB Nation continues its NFL blogger 2012 NFL Mock Draft, the teams are currently making their second round picks. Here, the Minnesota Vikings select left tackle Matt Kalil with the third pick, then pick LSU wide receiver Reuben Randle with the 36th overall pick in the second round.
Matt Kalil has been the consensus pick with the Vikings first pick, but experts have been split on whom Minnesota will target in the second round.
With Percy Harvin recovering from minor shoulder surgery, and the rest of the Vikings wide receivers underperforming last season, adding a deep threat certainly fills a team need. Via Minnesota Vikings blog, The Daily Norseman:
At just a shade under 6’3" and around 210 pounds, Randle fits the bill as the sort of receiver that can play on the outside for Minnesota. He has the size to get off of press coverage and better top-end speed than you might expect, averaging a shade over 17 yards/catch for a team that was (largely) saddled with lousy quarterback play.
Barring the Minnesota Vikings trying to get too cute with the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the player that they have been linked to for a very long time is USC offensive lineman Matt Kalil.
However, in his most recent mailbag, ESPN draft sage Adam Schefter has said that might not be the pick after all. This came as part of a question concerning the Buffalo Bills trading up for Kalil. Said Schefter,
The key to that would be Minnesota passing on Kalil, which I happen to believe the Vikings will. I'm in the minority there, and the Vikings are still deciding what to do, but I don't think Kalil is the lock that others do -- even if Minnesota stays at No. 3.
So, Schefter thinks the Vikings will pass on the big left tackle for another player. Personally, I'm fine with passing on Matt Kalil only if it's the result of a trade down that nets the Vikings more draft choices. If Spielman stays at #3 and takes a player other than Matt Kalil, he's likely going to have a very angry fan base on his hands.
As he should.
According to Van Bibber, the options for the Vikings are Matt Kalil, Justin Blackmon, Trent Richardson and Morris Claiborne or trading down to acquire extra picks. Kalil is the overwhelming favorite to be selected with this pick. Via Van Bibber:
Minnesota has Charlie Johnson at left tackle. In 16 games last season, Johnson allowed eight sacks, nine hits and 32 pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. Not exactly the kind of blind side protection ideal for bringing along a young quarterback like Christian Ponder, the Vikings' first-round pick last year.
Kalil would instantly improve the Vikings' pass blocking, giving their quarterback a fighting chance to make a play. With time, he projects as one of the league's elite at the position as he learns the art of run blocking.
The next best option, it would seem, is for Minnesota to trade the pick to a team trying to move up to grab Ryan Tannehill or Morris Claiborne. Here's what Van Bibber has to say about that possibility:
One possible trade partner is the Cleveland Browns, who could move up from the fourth spot at a relatively reasonable cost, the 22nd pick in the first round perhaps. They would do this to avoid another team leap-frogging them into the third pick to select Tannehill, if that's who the Browns have their hearts set on.
For more on the Minnesota Vikings, head over to Daily Norseman. You can also get all of your professional football news over at SB Nation's NFL hub along with any NFL draft info you need at the SB Nation NFL Draft hub.
A handful of prospects have visited the Twin Cities recently as the Minnesota Vikings prepare for the 2012 NFL Draft in late April. One of those prospects was highly touted USC left tackle Matt Kalil, far and away the favorite to be selected by Minnesota with their third overall pick if they don't trade it on or right before draft day.
The Vikings themselves called the visit 'very good' according to Twincities.com, which should just fuel the fire that has been burning under the Kalil to Minnesota bandwagon for over a month now.
Barring a major change in plans by the Vikings or a significant trade to get that pick, it's looking more and more like Kalil will be the guy protecting Christian Ponder come the 2012 season.
For more on the Minnesota Vikings, head over to Daily Norseman. You can also get all of your professional football news over at SB Nation's NFL hub along with any NFL draft info you need at the SB Nation NFL Draft hub.
Lombardi says many of the Vikings' holes stem from the 2009 season and the team's run to the NFC championship game. That season, he claims, gave the Vikes an unwarranted sense of security that came crashing down the past two seasons.
That's why Lombardi understands general manager Rick Spielman's willingness to trade the No. 3 pick:
With such a large number of concerns, though, it's easy to see why Spielman would make the third pick available. The Vikings are not a few players away from competing. Spielman, who was promoted to general manager in January, must recognize this is not a one-year fixer-upper. He has to have a two-year plan to patch up the team's numerous holes. He must take a broad look at the talent pool in the next two years -- both in the draft and in free agency -- and then decide where the answers might come from....
Lombardi goes on to say that while cornerback Morris Claiborne makes sense -- the Vikes were tied for last in the NFL with just eight interceptions a year ago, and Claiborne had six in 2011 at LSU -- he expects the Vikes to take offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
Kalil, considered the best offensive line prospect in this year's draft, has been the trendy pick for the Vikings at No. 3 among most experts for a long time. LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon have also drawn some buzz, but the consensus seem to be Kalil.
"There are times we have been in (the war room) and we’ve done deals on the clock," Spielman said, "It’s an unknown, but you’re prepared for both ways. We’ll be ready and we’ll have a good idea of what we think the value of that third pick is."
Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Michael Floyd is going to start making the rounds to different NFL teams that might be interested in his services this week, with one of his targets being the Minnesota Vikings. He's unlikely to be picked by Minnesota with their third overall pick -- USC tackle Matt Kalil is almost certain to get that honor -- but could be picked up by the Vikings if they were to make a trade down like they have been hinting they want to.
Michael is also visiting a handful of other teams including the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets during the week. For the Vikings he would fit one of the laundry list of needs that the team has, being a capable No. 1 receiver for Christian Ponder.
Floyd is a local kid, hailing originally from Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, Minnesota. He had well over 1000 yards and nine TDs for the Irish in 2011.
Mock drafts around the league have reached a consensus on the top three picks in the draft: the Indianapolis Colts will take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, the Washington Redskins will take Robert Griffin II, and the Minnesota Vikings will then take Matt Kalil, offensive tackle out of Southern California. The opinion is essentially unanimous, and Wes Bunting of the National Football Post is not dissenting:
3. Minnesota Vikings: Southern Cal OT Matt Kalil
Quarterback Christian Ponder has shown flashes in year one, but he needs to stay healthy. Therefore, bringing in the top offensive tackle prospect in the draft who has a chance to mature into a Pro Bowl-caliber lineman seems like an easy selection at three.
It's hard to find a mock draft these days that doesn't share this opinion, and that's mostly because it makes a world of sense. The Vikings invested a lot in Christian Ponder by taking him so early in the 2011 NFL Draft, and need to keep him protected to ensure he's healthy going forward.
The only other pick you'll really see for Minnesota at No. 3 is Justin Blackmon, the wide receiver out of Oklahoma State. In Bunting's draft, Blackmon is going to the St. Louis Rams at No. 6. Blackmon is considered the top receiver and would also help Ponder, but in a different way. Still, your quarterback can't throw to your first-round draft pick if he's on the ground seven times a game.
Don Banks at SI.com rolled out his latest 2012 NFL Mock Draft on Wednesday morning. Unlike some recent mock drafts, the Minnesota Vikings did not make a trade in Banks' vision of how the first round will unfold in just a few short weeks. Banks has a familiar face in the third spot for the Vikings as well.
USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil is a common pick for Minnesota in mock drafts this year, and Banks sees things no differently.
I'm sure the Vikings would love it if the Dolphins took the bait and traded up past No. 4 Cleveland to ensure they get Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but I think it's still wish list stuff, rather than a likely scenario. If the Vikings sit tight, Kalil still makes the most sense. If you're going to develop young quarterback Christian Ponder, it would help to protect him.
Check out the video profiles for Kalil and other top prospects below.
Get even more 2012 NFL Draft coverage, scouting reports, teams needs, etc. at Mocking the Draft. For more Vikings coverage, check out Daily Norseman. Be sure to visit SB Nation's NFL hub for the broader view.
Of all the different scenarios that we've seen involving the Minnesota Vikings' third overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft turning into USC tackle Matt Kalil, I think that Will Brinson of CBS Sports has the most interesting one. His 2012 NFL Mock Draft released on Tuesday has the Vikings trading their third overall pick to the Miami Dolphins so that the Dolphins can snag Texas A&M Quarterback Ryan Tannehill up high.
Surprisingly, nobody takes Matt Kalil at that point until the Dolphins former eighth pick, where the Vikings are ready to pounce. A dream scenario for Minnesota? Yeah, pretty much.
The gamble by Minny pays off (how convenient!) as Kalil falls to them at eight and they pick up an extra pick. And even if it's not Kalil the Vikings prefer, the deal makes sense: if there are five guys they consider to be "elite" and would be willing to take with their first pick in the draft, moving down to eight locks them in after the quarterbacks are gone.
Is it likely that the guy most people are calling the 'best non-QB prospect in the entire draft' will go by four different teams and manage to drop into the Vikings lap if that trade does happen? It probably depends on how badly the Browns, Bucs, Rams and Jaguars think they need offensive line help. At this point, this particular draft scenario might just be a pipe dream for the Vikings. A pretty pleasant dream though, for sure.
The trade part of the scenario at least seems plausible. Miami has a terrible QB situation with their current battle being between Matt Moore and David Gerrard. That's a mighty mediocre line up, so them wanting to get their hands on the third best guy in the draft at the QB position isn't too difficult a prediction to make.
The Minnesota Vikings have finally started making things interesting regarding their third overall pick in this season's draft after a couple of months with nothing but Matt Kalil sharpeed in. Recently they've been swooning over CB Morris Claiborne, perhaps because they really want to draft the guy but also likely because they want to hype up that pick in case they get the chance to trade down for more picks.
The new SB Nation NFL Mock Draft is out and Claiborne is the pick for the Vikings, but not without mentioning the want to trade.
The Vikings should take Matt Kalil but public swooning over Claiborne and Justin Blackmon has people wondering about their intentions. Ultimately, the Vikings may want to trade this pick, luring others with some well-timed swooning. Claiborne would obviously meet a need. So would Kalil, who is the best prospect in this draft behind the two quarterbacks. Hard to go wrong here.
Claiborne is suddenly becoming the favorite to be picked by the Vikings, or at least the favorite to be used as trade bait. Or, you know, Matt Kalil is still a pretty darn good football player if they don't want to trade down.
At this point, it seems almost inevitable that the Minnesota Vikings will select left tackle Matt Kalil with the third pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Brad Wells, however, has the Vikings draft unfolding quite differently in his latest 2012 NFL Mock Draft.
In this mock draft, the Vikings trade the third pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for the 11th and 44th picks in this year's draft and the Chiefs first pick next year. The logic to the trade is that the Vikings can still add an above average tackle--Jon Martin--with the 11th pick, while also shoring up their secondary with the next pick. The question becomes how wide is the gap between Kalil and Martin? Via Wells:
Yes, staying put at No. 3 and drafting Kalil is still a great move for this franchise. However, the Vikes have holes all over their roster. Thus, trading down, taking OT Jon Martin, and getting more picks is an even better move than just taking Kalil. Understand, Martin is no where near as good as Kalil. However, Martin a huge improvement over Charlie Johnson, whose natural position is guard. The additional picks allow the Vikes to boost their secondary later on.
The Minnesota Vikings will host some of the top prospects, including Matt Kalil and Morris Claiborne, at the team's annual Top 30 event at their Winter Park practice facility, according to Jeremy Fowler of The St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne are scheduled to attend the team's annual Top 30 event at the Winter Park practice facility. It's an opportunity for prospects to meet and dine with Vikings officials and coaches.
Justin Blackmon has also been invited to the event, but has not committed to attending. According to most NFL Draft experts, Kalil is the Vikings most likely selection. He is considered the top left tackle in the draft by most scouts, a position Minnesota needs to improve.
The Vikings have said they will consider all their options and workout all of the top prospects before they come to a decision.
The majority of NFL mock drafts for the 2012 season have been a bit boring considering the Minnesota Vikings are all but locked in to taking offensive tackle Matt Kalil with the third overall pick. Things get a bit more exciting when mocks include multiple rounds, though, as Todd McShay's did earlier this week.
McShay, one of ESPN's expert analysts, released a two-round mock draft on Wednesday night. The Vikings were given Kalil in the first round, as expected, but wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was their second round pick. Before getting to Jefffery, McShay's reasoning on Kalil:
The most complete tackle I have evaluated in my time scouting prospects, Kalil has the athleticism to excel as a pass-blocker and the mean streak to be a force in the running game.
That's some high praise. The ESPN expert doesn't offer any analysis with the Vikings pick at No. 35, but Jeffery -- a standout receiver for the South Carolina Gamecocks -- was at one point considered a top-five pick and recently did work when it came to his times in the 40-yard dash:
Working out at his school's pro day event in front of representatives from a number of NFL teams, Jeffery was clocked at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash, according to Kevin Weidl of ESPN.
Jeffery was once regarded as one of the top prospects at his position in the 2012 NFL Draft. A disappointing season with the Gamecocks in 2011 and rumors about his conditioning conspired to push him down draft boards in the eyes of many.
It sounds like Jeffery could be a steal, if not a big of a head case, but does Minnesota really want another South Carolina speedster?
The NFL has awarded all of the compensatory draft picks for the 2012 Draft, which means the draft order is officially complete. Compensatory picks only affect rounds 3 through 7.
The Minnesota Vikings received a pair of compensatory picks. Here they are:
The Vikings' other draft picks are:
1 3 3 Minnesota
2 3 35 Minnesota
3 3 66 Minnesota
4 3 98 Minnesota
5 3 138 Minnesota
6 5 175 Minnesota from Cleveland
7 3 210 Minnesota
7 16 223 Minnesota from Philadelphia through New England
Because of compensatory picks, the Vikings will have three picks between Nos. 128 and 138. They will also have a pair from 210 to 223.
Here is an article with a complete list of all NFL Draft picks, including compensatory picks.
The Minnesota Vikings, along with fourteen other NFL teams, added to their cache of picks for the 2012 NFL Draft on Monday afternoon, as they received compensatory selections due to net losses in free agency.
According to the NFL's rules, "Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks." The Vikings received two picks because they lost defensive end Ray Edwards, wide receiver Sidney Rice, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, and linebacker Ben Leber while gaining. . .and I use that term very, very loosely. . .defensive tackle Remi Ayodele and offensive tackle Charlie Johnson.
Both of Minnesota's selections will be in the fourth round of this year's draft, and they will be the 128th and 134th picks overall. Only one team, the Oakland Raiders, received a higher compensatory pick, as they got a third-round choice (the 95th overall pick).
Compensatory picks can not be traded, so no matter how much wheeling or dealing Rick Spielman does on draft weekend, the Vikings will be selecting at #128 and #134 overall.
Figuring out who the Minnesota Vikings are going to take with the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft has been pretty easy, if you go by the large number of mock drafts out there. There was only one level of uncertainty, which had to do with the St. Louis Rams at pick No. 2 and who they were likely to pick. Most assumed the Vikings and Rams both were interested in wide receiver Justin Blackmon and offensive tackle Matt Kalil, and whoever was left of the two after St. Louis would be the Vikings' pick.
Well, with the Washington Redskins making that huge trade for the Rams' pick, that basically means that Robert Griffin III will be going at No. 2, so Minnesota has their pick. But which one will it be? Don Banks of SI.com is going with the safe bet in his Mock Draft 3.0, giving the Vikings offensive tackle Matt Kalil:
For now I'm not buying the notion the Vikings are moving away from Kalil and toward either LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne or Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon. Not that they're unworthy picks at No. 3, but Kalil is also worthy, and the value/need of the Vikings' left tackle position is at least as high, if not higher, than it is at cornerback or receiver. After watching the Rams hit the jackpot at No. 2, sounds to me like Minnesota wants to see if anyone is interested in giving up a boatload to trade up to No. 3 for one of the draft's elite talents or possibly No. 3 quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Banks' reasoning is pretty sound here, and in the case of Blackmon, it makes a lot of sense. Is providing Christian Ponder with another target more important than giving him some protection with an offensive tackle? That theory is helped by the fact that the Vikings recently brought in tight end John Carlson, a reliable target for Ponder.
The Vikings own the third pick and have needed to shore up the left tackle position since the departure of Bryant McKinnie last summer. Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder struggled at times with defensive pressure, as the Vikings gave up the fifth most sacks in the NFL last season.
Here's what Ryan Van Bibber of SB Nation had to say about the pick:
Matt Kalil is the best offensive tackle in the draft since Jake Long, a true franchise cornerstone. I would not be surprised to see the Vikings skip over him given the current state of affairs. Morris Claiborne is a good pick and fits a need, but when trying to rebuild a team around a first-round quarterback, a left tackle of Kalil's talent is just too good to be true.
Kalil, 22, played three college seasons at USC where he was named an All-American and won the Morris Trophy. He is listed at six-foot-7, 297 pounds.
It's no surprise any more when the Minnesota Vikings are being projected to pick USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil in the 2012 NFL Draft. He's the best prospect that isn't a Quarterback and there's no drama involving them trading their pick up to a team seeking Robert Griffin III any more since the Rams got a whole boatload of picks from the Washington Redskins for the right to get him.
The new SB Nation 2012 Mock Draft is out with the top two picks locked solidly in place, and the third pick seems to be pretty solidly locked in as well for them with Kalil going to the Vikings as usual.
This has to be the pick, but will it? Leslie Frazier made googly eyes at Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State's pro day event last week. Kalil is the best player in this draft, after the two quarterbacks. He has all the makings of an elite left tackle, and should make a difference the minute he steps on the field.
If you're not already used to the name, Vikings fans, you might want to accustom yourself to it because Kalil to the Vikings is starting to seem like as much a lock as Andrew Luck to the Colts. Unless, of course, Leslie Frazier and Justin Blackmon really are a tandem.
The 2012 NFL Draft is still over one month away, but this weekend's trade between the Washington Redskins and St. Louis Rams has brought about NFL trade rumors that include the Minnesota Vikings. It seems that Matt Kalil is the safe pick but there are still some that believe the Vikings could make a move.
The Vikings didn't have much leverage before the big trade this weekend, but if the Rams feel they moved too far back, Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press thinks the Vikings might be willing to make a deal.
It wouldn't be surprising if the Rams at least try to make a deal with the Vikings for the No. 3 pick. If St. Louis were to offer the No. 6 pick plus one of its second-round picks, Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman, who then would have the No. 6 pick and two second-round picks, certainly would find such an offer enticing.
There's also the possibility that still another team would want to trade with the Vikings to move up to take running back Trent Richardson of Alabama.
Both Claiborne and Blackmon have been rumored to be other targets for the Vikings, but if they traded down to the sixth pick, there's still a chance all three could be off the board along with quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. If that would happen, the Vikings would be in an unfavorable position even with the extra picks.
The majority of the 2012 NFL mock drafts have all said the same thing when it comes to the Minnesota Vikings. That takes some of the fun out of this time of year, unfortunately, as it's more about reading why the experts are predicting Matt Kalil to Minnesota rather than trying to determine who the Vikings should select.
ESPN's Todd McShay released an updated version of his mock draft on Wednesday, apparently finally feeling like he's done enough research into the NFL combine data to send out a new version of his draft day projections. While his decision for the Vikings to select Kalil was predictable, the comparison he made with his prediction is certainly interesting.
The Vikings just missed out on being able to cash in with the second overall pick, but with Baylor QB Robert Griffin III likely to be the pick there Minnesota is in a position to finally begin shoring up its offensive line with an elite prospect. Kalil is one of the top left tackles I have ever evaluated coming out of college, with a skill set equal to Joe Thomas and a mean streak to go with it.
The 2012 NFL Draft is creeping closer and closer. Peyton Manning's release on Wednesday and impending decision about where to play in 2012 will shape the outcome of the top picks in the draft, but not so much for the Minnesota Vikings. ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper posted his latest 2012 NFL mock draft on Wednesday, and he has a familiar face in spot three for the Vikes.
Once again, Kiper has them drafting USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
This is one I'm going to stick with. I've liked the pick since the first mock, and I don't see a reason to change. Minnesota needs an upgrade at left tackle, and Kalil is the rare one who could step into that position right away at the NFL level. There's a lot of talk about which quarterback will go where right now, but this pick is about keeping Christian Ponder upright for the Vikings. They won't know what they have unless they can block for him. And it's obvious this will help the running game, too.
Left tackles are not the most exciting players, but they are among the most important.
The latest 2012 NFL mock draft was posted Monday morning at SB Nation. In a move that will not surprise anyone, the Minnesota Vikings are once again project to take USC Trojans offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
Kalil had an impressive showing at the recent NFL Combine and is basically a lock to be there when the Vikings select with the third overall pick. Our own Christopher Gates wrote that getting "stuck" with Kalil should be the plan and SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber agrees:
Franchise quarterback (hopefully), meet franchise left tackle. Kalil will help right away. If Adrian Peterson can rebound, the Vikings should be more than a punchline in 2012.
Whether Christian Ponder is indeed a franchise quarterback is still up for debate by some Vikings fans, but AD should heal just fine -- he's already going through rehab -- and Kalil would obviously be a welcome addition to the offense.
In other news surrounding possible picks Minnesotans have had in mind, the LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne is projected to be picked fourth, Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon at six and Riley Reiff at No. 11 to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The NFL Combine is over. There have been exciting moves all around most people's draft boards, except of course for the third overall pick where the Minnesota Vikings are still fully expected to select USC Tackle Matt Kalil as long as they don't take their pick and trade it down to another team who want Kalil, Morris Claiborne or another top prospect.
The post combine SB Nation 2012 NFL Mock Draft is out and there's absolutely no surprises from the Minnesota side of things, with Kalil still the man of the hour.
Beyond Luck and Griffin, Kalil is the only other kind of building block player in this draft. He ran the 40 in under 5 seconds; he weighs 306 pounds. The Vikings' quarterbacks will feel safe and warm for years to come with Kalil protecting their blind side.
Certainly his combine was very impressive. He's fast, athletic, has a good reach and can pass block up there with the best of them. There should be absolutely no complaints about getting a prospect as solid as Kalil in the draft, especially if you happen to be Christian Ponder staring down all the guys on the other side of the field hoping to smack you down. It may get old hearing that name to Minnesota every week, but it's not a bad name to hear.
Hey, at least we haven't hit 'Andrew Luck to Indianapolis' levels of boring predictions yet.
The NFL Combine is usually a time where players see themselves rise and fall in the blink of an eye, shaking up the mock drafts for a good, long time. That did happen this season, of course, but not to the guys at the very top of the draft this time around. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III both did well enough to stick up in the top two, and the Minnesota Vikings are still being projected to take USC tackle Matt Kalil in the newest SB Nation 2012 NFL Mock Draft.
Whether the Vikings decide to stick with Christian Ponder for the immediate future or potentially make a run at Peyton Manning, they will need help keeping their quarterback on his feet. The secondary might as well be swiss cheese at this point, but I think they address that to some extent in free agency. Kalil did everything he needed to at the Combine to establish himself as the top offensive tackle in this draft.
Of course, being 'stuck' with Matt Kalil is absolutely no problem for a team with such a glaring need at offensive tackle. Unless something changes drastically, with the combine already almost over, you can probably expect to see Kalil continue to dominate the charts for the Vikings.
The Minnesota Vikings have a real opportunity to improve with the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The NFL Combine results show that they might get "stuck" with the perfect player, as the mock drafts predicted, in offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
Good news for the Minnesota Vikings: The team will not have to give up a 2013 sixth-round draft pick as a result of the Donovan McNabb trade, as an NFL source on Saturday said the quarterback did not meet the minimum playing time threshold, via Tom Pelissero of ESPN.com.
McNabb played 348 of 1,037 gradable snaps (33.6%), which was believed to be near the threshold for triggering the conditional selection. He was benched late in a loss at Chicago in the Vikings' sixth game and didn't play another down before the Vikings waived him on Dec. 1.
The Vikings restructured McNabb's contract so that it is worth $5.05 million over one year, and could be worth up to $7.25 million with incentives. The 35 year-old quarterback threw four touchdowns and two interceptions with an 82.9 rating in six games for Minnesota in 2011.
As Pelissero reports, the Vikings will have plenty of picks in the upcoming draft.
They have their other six picks in this year's draft, plus sixth- and seventh-round selections from other trades. They expect to receive two fourth-round supplemental picks as well to bring the total to 10, but that won't be finalized until next month.
Matt Kalil, standout left tackle from the USC Trojans, solidified his his status as one of the top overall prospects on the NFL draft board after an impressive workout on Feb. 25. Kalil ran the 40-yard dash in 4.96 seconds, marking the second fastest time among offensive lineman. While the number is unofficial, it only strengthens Kalil's already excellent draft resume.
Via Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com.
I know that 40 times for offensive linemen have limited relevance, but for Kalil it's a reflection of his advertised athleticism and a justification for his limited weight gain during offseason workouts.
The real question now for the Vikings, who have been targeting Kalil with the No. 3 draft pick, is whether or not Kalil will even be available. If he is available, it is widely assumed that the Vikings will select Kalil, but the St. Louis Rams, who have the No. 2 draft pick, might just snatch him up first.
The Minnesota Vikings have scheduled a meeting with Matt Kalil and it looks like whoever wants Robert Griffin III is going to be trading up to get the Rams second overall pick rather than the Vikings third overall, so Kalil to the Vikings is starting to look like a lot more of a certainty than it was before.
The new SB Nation 2012 NFL Mock Draft certainly thinks so as well, giving Kalil to the Vikings at No. 3 as we're used to seeing at this point.
The Vikings need help on the offensive line, specifically at left tackle, to open running lanes for Adrian Peterson and protect Christian Ponder's back. Kalil can step in as a rookie and be an immediate starter at left tackle playing at a high level. Kalil is too good for the Vikings to pass up at No. 3.
The biggest question at this point is going to be how the combine affects things. If Kalil has a terrible day at the combine, he may start to get questioned and a guy like Riley Reiff will have a shot to take precedence over him. Unlikely, but we've certainly seen stranger things happen because of the NFL combine than the most highly touted lineman lose stock to a competitor.
More than likely, we'll just see Kalil continue to get mocked to the Vikings as his stock continues to rise as the best lineman in the draft. We'll see if he really is 'too good for the Vikings to pass up at No. 3' though, since the Vikings have been plenty open when it comes to talking about trading their pick down.
If they do trade down they could probably get a bundle for the pick since there's plenty of teams out there that could use Kalil on their offense, though perhaps teams would be skeptical of going up quite that high just for a lineman and not for a skill player like a QB. Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck are both almost guaranteed to be gone by that point, after all.
Matt Kalil, the highly touted left tackle from the USC Trojans, will meet with the Minnesota Vikings Friday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Kalil, who has been in Indy since Wednesday, is expected to be the first offensive linemen selected in the upcoming NFL Draft, April 26-28, and a target of the Vikings.
On Thursday, Kalil was measured at 6-foot-6, 306 pounds and was able to speak to the media:
"It's up to the coaches and owners if they want me," Kalil said. "I will definitely focus on what I can do to become a better player. That's all I've really thought about."
"I definitely like to impose my will on my opponent, get after it," Kalil said.
It's a no brainier that the Indianapolis Colts will select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck No. 1-overall, however, it is still a mystery whether or not the St. Louis Rams, who's selecting No. 2, and Vikings, No. 3, will be the ones choosing Kalil.
Friday's interviews could go a long way to providing answers.
The Minnesota Vikings are going to draft Matt Kalil or Justin Blackmon, so it is said by the mock drafts and so it shall be. That's what you'll find in the majority of mock drafts, despite the Vikings suggesting otherwise. They haven't suggested that they're considering one player over another, but they've said they wouldn't shy away from drafting a quarterback and things of that nature.
And now the Vikings are adding another layer to the mix, according to the Washington Post. General manager Rick Spielman said recently that the team is open to moving in the draft, eluding to a move backwards in the event that a team wants to move up and draft Robert Griffin III.
Many folks have already suggested this as an option, especially if the player they want (potentially Kalil) is taken by the Rams at No. 2. This would seem to imply that the quarterback the Vikings would draft (providing that wasn't just a ploy to make teams want to trade into the No. 2 spot so Kalil remains available) is Andrew Luck, who almost certainly won't be there.
Spielman seems to be open to everything at this point. That's probably a good thing, given that the team is in possession of a very valuable pick, whether they use it or trade it.
Another day, another mock draft, another selection of Matt Kalil to the Minnesota Vikings.
The new weekly SB Nation 2012 NFL Mock Draft is out once again, and this time it's a lot less interesting than a few of the past ones had been, when teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins were being rumored to want to snag Minnesota's third overall selection in order to pick up Robert Griffin III before the Cleveland Browns could get to him. It's looking more and more likely that it will be St. Louis' second overall pick that gets traded up to rather than Minnesota's third, leaving them alone and with Matt Kalil on the board.
Kalil still has improvements to make in his game. Even with some professional growth ahead of him, he is still the best offensive tackle in the draft. His natural ability in pass protection will improve the life of Vikings' quarterbacks considerably. As he learns the fine art of run blocking in the NFL, he should round into Pro Bowl shape.
There will likely be some big shake ups in the draft standings internet-wide after the madness that is the NFL Combine is all said and done. Even then, unless something very drastic happens with other top five prospects, expect for Kalil to start getting sharpeed into the draft books rather than penciled for the Vikings. It's just the smartest move for Minnesota to make, getting the third best player in the draft with their third overall pick.
The mock drafts for the Minnesota Vikings have been about as easy and straightforward as the mock drafts for the Indianapolis Colts: They'll pick Matt Kalil, the offensive tackle unless the St. Louis Rams already did that. If the Rams do that, then the Vikings go for Justin Blackmon.
It's been made that simple in mocks, though there is the theory that they could trade out of the pick so a team can get to Robert Griffin III.
Now there's a new wrinkle to the mix, as the Pioneer Press reports on Twitter that Rick Spielman, the general manager of the Vikings, is open to drafting a quarterback:
#Vikings "very, very confident" in Ponder, but won't rule out drafting QB if one is "too good to pass up."
There's a couple possible meanings to this. One meaning is that the Vikings are suggesting the possibility that Andrew Luck actually is not selected by the Colts and that anybody who passes him up is a doddering fool. Another possibility is that the Vikings value Griffin that highly. Or, as the first thought that comes to mind when general managers talk about potential draft moves, it's a bluff.
If the Vikings make other teams feel like they'll take a quarterback, that puts Robert Griffin in jeopardy and a desperate team could then target the Rams as their trade partner at No. 2 to draft him. What does this accomplish for Minnesota? It means that both Kalil and Blackmon would then likely be available, giving them their choice of both players.
At any rate, it's hard to imagine the Vikings actually would consider drafting someone a year after making Christian Ponder the No. 12 overall pick in the 2011 draft. He made mistakes in his rookie season, but he didn't have much of an offseason at all and was playing on a team with no chance at the playoffs. It will be interesting to see if this move makes any kind of difference in regards to the trade landscape.
Mel Kiper's latest NFL mock draft has the Minnesota Vikings selecting USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil. For all things Minnesota Vikings, be sure to head over to the Daily Norseman, SB Nation's Vikings blog.
NFL mock draft season is officially here as ESPN's resident expert Mel Kiper released his second rendition of the season on Wednesday afternoon. It didn't include any earth-shattering, however, as the Minnesota Vikings are still slated to select offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
Kalil is a 6-foot-7 left tackle that didn't allow a sack while starting for the USC Trojans last season. He isn't the best offensive line prospect in the past 10 years or anything like that, but Kiper believes he can get the job done from Day 1 for Minnesota.
The Vikings need to upgrade at left tackle, and Kalil is the rare one who could step into that position right away at the NFL level. Great feet, arm length, athleticism and finishing skills as a run-blocker make him a very complete prospect. I can see the Vikings tempted if Blackmon is around here, which he very well could be, because they're also lacking weapons in the passing game. They could also go for a cornerback. It'll be one of three, all top needs.
Kiper projects that Andrew Luck and Justin Blackmon will go ahead of the Vikings with the top two picks, taking them out of the equation, while the next best defensive back is slated to go No. 6 as the Washington Redskins are projected to grab LSU Tigers cornerback Morris Claiborne.
For more on the Vikings, check out The Daily Norseman. For more on the draft in general, check out Mocking The Draft and then head over to learn about all things professional football with SB Nation's NFL page.
With the new news that the Washington Redskins are possibly the new favorites to bump up in the NFL Draft and pick up Robert Griffin III with a pick above the Cleveland Browns, the Minnesota Vikings are probably interested in trading if the St. Louis Rams don't feel like trading down. At this point though, the new SB Nation 2012 NFL Mock Draft has the Skins taking over the Rams pick and leaving the Vikings with the very nice consolation prize of USC tackle Matt Kalil.
Kalil is the best left tackle in the draft since Jake Long in 2008. He's a natural in pass protection, and should make life much easier for Christian Ponder in Week 1. Kalil needs to hone his run blocking before ascending to the class of elite of elite linemen.
I'm pretty sure that every single team in the league would jump at the chance to get a guy compared to Jake Long. Heck, even the Miami Dolphins would probably jump at the chance, and they have Jake Long.
The Minnesota Vikings have been getting mocked various offensive tackle prospects almost exclusively in the past few weeks, with the biggest alternate selection usually being WR Justin Blackmon so that they could have a big weapon for Christian Ponder.
Draft Tek is a site that focuses on doing simulated NFL mock drafts, and their newest consensus 2012 draft has the Vikings going a slightly different route than the Blackmon or Riley Reiff path after the St. Louis Rams take Matt Kalil out of the picture. They've brought back the old choice of LSU Cornerback Morris Claiborne, perhaps a high selection for a CB but perhaps the best player available for the Vikings at the time since they will have no interest in Robert Griffin III.
After fielding numerous emails on why the Vikings can address WR in free agency, I've officially bought in and put a grab on Morris Claiborne to fill a gaping hole at corner. To say the Vikings had a porous secondary last year would be a compliment at this point. They finished last in the league in Opponent QB Rating (107.6), Percentage of passes that went for a 1st down (39.6%) and INTs (8). They also ranked 31st in ProFootballFocus.com's "Pass Coverage" grade.
There are no trades allowed in Draft Tek's formula, so they don't have the possibility of the Vikings trading down included. If Kalil is out of the picture and a team like the Washington Redskins are desperate to get Robert Griffin III before the Browns can pick him up, don't rule a big trade out.
Walterfootball has a new 2012 NFL Mock Draft out and there's not a great many surprises on it. Andrew Luck is still first overall, the Cleveland Browns are still trading up to get Robert Griffin III and the Minnesota Vikings at number three are still taking USC tackle Matt Kalil. He does shake things a bit this time by including some 'other possibilities', and they would certainly be slightly more interesting.
Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon has been in the conversation for the Vikings for a while as a top prospect to catch Christian Ponder's passes, but Iowa tackle Riley Reiff isn't usually a part of the conversation as his talent usually has him dropping somewhere in the low tens or early teens in the draft. But someone else on the internet said it could happen, so it must be true!
Thanks to perhaps all of the gamma rays he's been in contact with, the Sun Tan Man slotted Riley Reiff to the Vikings in his recent mock draft, so I suppose I should list this as a possibility. After all, Minnesota might be stupid, and could pass on a superior talent, instead opting to reach for a need.
The new SB Nation 2012 NFL Mock Draft is out and they have a big surprise in store for the Minnesota Vikings. Rather than using their third overall selection on a big name player, they have Minnesota trading their third overall pick to the Seattle Seahawks, who then use the pick to grab Baylor QB Robert Griffin III.
With their newly acquired 12th overall selection -- there's no mention of what else the Seahawks might throw in to make a trade like this a bit sweeter for the Vikings -- Minnesota are slated to select Dre Kirkpatrick, a cornerback out of Alabama.
Kirkpatrick's weed arrest is going to get his name bumped down on some draft boards but he is a first rate corner whose legal troubles pale in comparison to Chris Cook.
Few would complain about getting a member of the vaunted Alabama defense, especially a fantastic CB like Kirkpatrick despite the marijuana issue. Look for trades like this to start dominating the mock drafts in the future as interest starts to spike in the players up at the high end of the draft lists. Robert Griffin III with the third overall pick might be of great interest to any number of teams.
The consensus is that if USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil is available for the Minnesota Vikings with the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, that it should take the Vikings all of about 30 seconds to turn their draft card in to Commissioner Roger Goodell. But what if Kalil ends up going to the St. Louis Rams at #2? Thus far, the prevailing wisdom is that the Vikings would either trade out of the pick to a team that wanted to select Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, or select one of two players. . .either Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon or LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne.
Well, in his latest mock draft (available only to ESPN Insider users), ESPN Draft expert Todd McShay has presented a different option by having the Vikings go with an offensive tackle despite Kalil's absence. In this case, the player in question is Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff. Here's what McShay has to say about him:
The Vikings desperately need offensive weapons to help young QB Christian Ponder, but they also need to better protect their investment in Ponder. Reiff needs to get stronger, but he is an underrated athlete with the potential to become a very good starting left tackle in the NFL.
While I can't necessarily disagree with McShay's logic in this particular case. . .of all the gaping holes that the Vikings currently have on their roster, left tackle may be the biggest. . .I can't help but think that they could get Reiff further down the board and entertain the numerous trade down scenarios that would come their direction with Robert Griffin III still on the board in this scenario.
Protecting their young franchise quarterback, Christian Ponder, is viewed by many as the most important thing the Minnesota Vikings need to do this offseason. Whether it be from free agency or the draft, Minnesota's aging offensive line seriously needs some help. They're in a position to pick one of the best in college at this point, and it's likely that they do with the No. 3 overall pick.
The only thing that could get in their way is the St. Louis Rams at No. 2. While the Indianapolis Colts have the top spot in the draft, most assume they're going to take Andrew Luck, leaving the Rams sitting at No. 2 with a ton of options, though three have come up consistently. They can trade the pick to a team who wants to get Robert Griffin III, leaving Minnesota with the choice of Matt Kalil or Justin Blackmon, or the Rams could also pick one of those two guys. At this point, Minnesota could trade out of the pick, potentially with the Browns at No. 4, and still get one of those players.
There's a lot of scenarios, and in the latest SB Nation 2012 NFL Mock Draft, they have the Rams trading the pick, leaving the Vikings with their choice at No. 3. It's no surprise that the pick is, once again, Kalil.
The Vikings drafted Christian Ponder in the first round last year. They were lucky that he wasn't ripped limb from limb with the pass protection he had. Kalil is ready-made to start on the left side. Like all rookies, savvy veteran pass rushers will get the better of him from time to time, but it represents a big upgrade for the Vikings.
Kalil would be a smart pick for the Vikings, though it's now entering "general consensus," which generally means that it's not ever going to happen in a million years, with the way the draft has been going these past few years. Either way, Kalil is one of the better tackle prospects in a long time, and he should immediately be inserted into a starting role.
USC offensive tackle prospect Matt Kalil continues to be a favorite pick for the Minnesota Vikings with their third overall picks, especially with the numerous mock drafts that have the Cleveland Browns trading up to the second overall pick to take Robert Griffin III. That essentially drops Kalil right into the Vikings lap since the St. Louis Rams won't have a shot at picking Kalil away from Minnesota.
Walterfootball's latest mock draft has the same thought to it, with the Cleveland Browns taking RGIII with the second overall pick and giving the Rams the fourth pick. He does tack on a little 'what if' clause on the end though.
In the event that the Rams can't trade their pick and Matt Kalil is not available, I believe the Vikings would take Justin Blackmon. Of course, they could move this selection themselves...
Justin Blackmon ends up going to the Rams fourth overall in that draft, and the idea of the Vikings trading their pick is certainly nothing new. If someone offers a good player package or bundle of draft selections, don't be surprised if the pick doesn't belong to Minnesota in the end.
The Minnesota Vikings have a number of options with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Many believe they'll go after someone like Matt Kalil or Justin Blackmon, and they're guaranteed to get one of them, providing the Indianapolis Colts don't shock the world and draft somebody who is not Andrew Luck. Minnesota could easily just draft whichever of the two the St. Louis Rams don't take, since they've been continually linked to those two players as well. But there's been the sentiment that the team could trade the pick, something that general manager Rick Spielman agreed was a possibility on Wednesday:
"It will be, I think, very busy on draft day," Spielman said in an interview on the NFL Network set. "We're the third overall pick, so we'll be looking at all the options. If someone wants to come up and get our pick, we're going to be more than willing to listen."
Although that piece is most certainly a bit out of touch by implying that trading has not been on Vikings fans' minds, that's a good quote and opens up a lot of possibilities for the Vikings. They are in a unique position in that teams want to trade into that spot to draft Robert Griffin III, to get ahead of the Cleveland Browns at No. 4. Perhaps Minnesota could tell Cleveland that they're going to trade the pick, and then get the Browns to match the offer to swap places with Minnesota, thus getting some extra picks and one of Kalil or Blackmon.
Recently, the Minnesota Vikings have seemed to narrow in on Southern California offensive tackle Matt Kalil as their best pick for the third overall pick. The first and second picks seem fairly set, though mostly because a trend of the Cleveland Browns trading up to get Robert Griffin III seems to be an emerging trend, and a lot of draftniks have stated that Matt Kalil is the best non quarterback prospect in the draft.
NFL Network Mike Maycock obviously feels differently judging by his list of top five players at each position yesterday released via a scroll on the bottom of the screen during the senior bowl. Buffalo Bills reporter Chris Brown was kind enough to create a list of them online for us, and you'll notice that it is not Matt Kalil at the top of the tackles, but Iowa prospect Riley Reiff.
It's a bit surprising to see, in the most recent SB Nation 2012 NFL Mock Draft Reiff falls all the way to 12th where the Chiefs take him. If this is the beginning of a trend shift, you may start seeing a new name sneak into the mocks for the Vikings in future weeks.
Offensive tackle prospect Matt Kalil continues to be a favorite choice for the third overall pick that belongs to the Minnesota Vikings. The new SB Nation 2012 NFL mock draft has the pattern continuing, with the St. Louis Rams opting to trade their pick to the Cleveland Browns in this mock scenario so they can be assured of getting Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick.
I'm sure that the Vikings wouldn't mind that scenario one bit come draft day. With Christian Ponder in their ranks it's not like they were going to be pining for RGIII anyway.
3. Minnesota Vikings, Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Minnesota took a quarterback in the first round last year with Christian Ponder. Now, they give him an insurance policy with one of the best tackle prospects to come along in years. Kalil is as can't miss as it gets in the draft this year.
For more on the Vikings, check out The Daily Norseman.
Offensive tackle Matt Kalil out of USC has been a favorite player lately to go to the Minnesota Vikings as the two QB's in the draft get taken first and fourth overall. The pick certainly makes sense, the Vikings could certainly use help along their offensive and defensive lines and Kalil is considered by some to be the best non QB prospect in the entire draft.
The problem with him being ranked so highly is that there's a good chance that the O-line starved St. Louis Rams will also want to snap the highly touted lineman up. Morris Claiborne is a likely candidate to take the spot if Kalil goes second overall. Walterfootball's Charlie Campbell says the pick is still no slouch for the Vikings:
The Vikings' defense gave up a lot of points and a lot of yards in 2011. Minnesota has to bolster its secondary in the offseason, and Claiborne is the top defensive prospect in the draft. Playing in the NFC North against the Packers' Aaron Rodgers and the Lions' Matthew Stafford requires a good pass defense for a team to be competitive.
In the NFL, Claiborne is going to bring speed and playmaking ability to the team that drafts him. The 6-foot, 188-pounder possesses a phenomenal skill set, and proved that throughout the 2011 season. He has the speed and athleticism to be an elite cover corner with the ball skills to punish teams for throwing his direction.
Giving up the best offensive prospect that isn't a QB isn't exactly a problem when the consolation prize is the best defensive prospect in the draft. Either way, it looks like the draft choices for the Vikings are being wound down to two possibilities.
There is the possibility that the Minnesota Vikings trade out of the No. 3 overall pick to a team looking to draft Robert Griffin III. There's also a possibility that the Vikings could keep the pick because they sorely want offensive tackle Matt Kalil to protect their franchise quarterback of the future in Christian Ponder. It's almost a consensus that the Vikings would take Kalil with the pick if he's available, but the St. Louis Rams also could be after him.
Essentially, the Rams are being pegged as wanting either Kalil, or wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The Rams have their pick of either, considering it's another consensus that the Indianapolis Colts will take quarterback Andrew Luck. If the Rams decide to go with Blackmon, then the Vikings get Kalil ... or do they?
The Vikings could elect to trade the pick if the Rams don't do it first. Teams really want RGIII, and the Vikings could get a premium for him. Teams will be very eager to move in front of the Cleveland Browns to get the pick so they don't take him, and that's the beauty of their situation. Minnesota is in a great position to demand a trade with the Browns and just swap spots with them.
Minnesota would get a couple extra picks and the Browns would get Griffin. And, of course, the Vikings would still be picking at No. 4 and could draft Kalil with it. Probably makes too much sense for the NFL, though.
Walterfootball is known for making long, detailed mock drafts and their latest one is one of many drafts calling for USC Tackle prospect Matt Kalil to go to the Minnesota Vikings with the third overall draft selection.
This really is as much of a no-brainer as Andrew Luck to the Colts. If Matt Kalil is on the board, the Vikings won't spend two minutes handing in their draft card. Of course, I won't be happy about this because I won't have enough time to write stupid things in my live draft blog.
Kalil is the best non-quarterback in this class, and Minnesota has a major need at left tackle, where the pedestrian Charlie Johnson has sucked all year. The Vikings absolutely need to make sure Christian Ponder is well protected.
Interesting to note that they have the Cleveland Browns moving above the Vikings via trade to snag Baylor QB Robert Griffin III second overall, which would essentially guarantee Kalil falling into the Vikings' lap. Not bad for a prospect that WalterFootball says is 'the best left tackle prospect since Joe Thomas'.
The Minnesota Vikings were a bad football team in 2011. . .hence the reason that they're picking third in the 2012 NFL Draft. However, they appear to be in a very solid position to help themselves, based on a couple of scenarios that appear to be playing themselves out in numerous mock drafts.
With Andrew Luck appearing to be a lock to go in the top overall spots to the Indianapolis Colts, the real interest will start with the St. Louis Rams' pick at second overall. The Rams also need a lot of help, but their target appears to be USC offensive lineman Matt Kalil. . .who, it just so happens, appears to be the Vikings' main target as well.
However, many teams are said to be coveting Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, and it sounds like those teams are going to have to move up ahead of the Cleveland Browns, who hold the fourth overall pick. With that being the case, it appears as though two different scenarios are playing themselves out, both of which are highly advantageous for the Vikings.
The first scenario would be where the Rams would snag Kalil at number two overall. If that happens, the Vikings would have the ability to pretty much auction off the third overall pick to the highest bidder. . .whichever team wants to get ahead of Cleveland at number four for the rights to select Robert Griffin III. That would give the Vikings a few extra picks to play with. . .and team that is rebuilding on the level that the Vikings are could certainly use them.
The other scenario would be the one where the Rams would actually be the team trading back with a team that wants Griffin III, in which case Kalil falls directly into Minnesota's lap at number three, giving Minnesota the best non-Andrew Luck player in the draft (in this writer's opinion) without having to move around too much.
In any case, the Vikings appear to be in a very solid position to help themselves this April. We'll have plenty of time to discuss all of that before then, however.
Many of the Minnesota Viking fan base have been outspoken about the team's No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and more accurately, outspoken about the fact that Minnesota should hang on to the pick and grab one of the premium players available. In the position they're in, they stand a good chance to trade the pick for what will probably be a slew of other picks so other teams can get a chance to draft Robert Griffin III.
One pick in particular has been a constant for them in mock drafts, and it remains so in Mel Kiper's latest mock draft:
Matt Kalil, OT, USC
The Vikings are another team with a young quarterback, and while they could use a target such as Blackmon in the offense, they also really need to shore up their protection. You see a lot of left tackles drafted and moved to the right side as they transition into the NFL -- Tyron Smith with Dallas last year is a recent case -- but Kalil has big-time talent and could start on the left side early. I don't think the comparisons to Jake Long are too far off. Athletic, with long arms, great feet and deceptive power given an athletic frame, Kalil also could land at No. 2.
Kalil has been a popular pick for the Vikings, generally only changing when the St. Louis Rams are given him as the pick just before that. It's a pick that certainly makes sense, after investing heavily in quarterback Christian Ponder, they now need somebody sturdy to protect him to keep the Vikings actually in games. Most are of the opinion that this wouldn't be a bad pick whatsoever.
If things go as expected, the Minnesota Viking could make LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne the highest-drafted cornerback in more than a decade.
Claiborne, a 6-1, 185-pounder, is projected to go to the Vikings at third overall.
Since 2002, only three corners have gone in the top five: Quentin Jammer (’02), Terence Newman (’03) and Patrick Peterson (’10). None, however, went higher than No. 5. Not since Charles Woodson went fourth overall in 1998 has a CB been taken so high.
Claiborne is no lock to end up in Minnesota. The Vikings would have a decision on their hands should the St. Louis Rams pass on USC left tackle Matt Kalil. But with the Rams’ woeful offense – they were 31st in the league with 283.6 yards per game – it is presumed that they’ll opt for Kalil, who is considered the best tackle prospect in the draft.
Which would make Claiborne the logical choice, and make him a historically high pick.
The value of Minnesota's first round draft pick may have increased significantly on Wednesday when Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III announced he was leaving school to enter the NFL draft. While the Vikings aren't looking to draft another quarterback in the first round, several other teams may want to jump up the draft board to secure Griffin.
The dynamic quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner has been impressive both on and off the field while handling the burst of publicity that followed being named the top college football player. According to Griffin, he had done enough at Baylor and didn't want to utilize the additional year of eligibility he had after redshirting in 2009 due to a knee injury.
"I just felt it was time for me to go," Griffin said.
Griffin had a breakout season, throwing for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns as the Bears finished 10-3 and he won the school's first Heisman Trophy.
SBNation.com's latest 2012 mock draft has Griffin going No. 4 to the Browns. This scenario sets up perfectly for Minnesota if they aren't completely sold on their options with the third overall pick. Instead they can try to stockpile picks from a team that covets Griffin and must jump the Browns to select him.
And who knows, if Griffin really wows the NFL world throughout the draft process, maybe Minnesota will re-evaluate their trust in Christian Ponder and take Griffin themselves.
The Minnesota Vikings certainly had a disappointing season which quickly turned into a developmental year for rookie quarterback Christian Ponder. After a 1-5 start, coach Leslie Frazier decided to move away from Donovan McNabb and Ponder started at quarterback the rest of the season.
Ponder's toughness was tested and he struggled with injuries which had him on and off the field over the last half of the season. Fellow rookie Kyle Rudolph came on strong as the season progressed and showed promise as an impact tight end for the future.
So how does the Vikings' last draft class grade out overall? ESPN's Mel Kiper re-graded the 2011 draft based on how this past season went, and the Vikings didn't fare well despite Ponder and Rudolph showing some promise. Here is how Kiper graded the draft.
Post-draft grade: C+
Summary: When you think you're drafting the quarterback of the future for the franchise, you take your shot. That's what the Vikings did at No. 12 when they drafted Christian Ponder. I had that as a reach on my board, but Ponder showed some things in 2011. Still, it was for a team that was far less competitive than we thought it would be, and, as the season finished, I even heard questions about whether the team should give Joe Webb a shot. Are the Vikings confident they can compete in 2012 with Ponder at the helm? Kyle Rudolph is a talented player and should be a weapon in that offense; he certainly has mastered the one-handed catch. After that, it's pretty quiet. Christian Ballard got reps, but I don't see him as an impact player. Overall, this is still an incomplete for me as we wait on Ponder. But hopefully we'll see some development from the other picks, too.
New grade: C-
As you can see, Kiper wasn't real high on Ponder to begin with, so it appears he is not willing to give points for battling through injuries to play. But it is clear that eventually this class will be remembered for what Ponder and Rudolph do to help the Vikings win.
The Minnesota Vikings have so many ways to go with the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The only thing they're not likely to do is draft a quarterback, as they are set on Christian Ponder for the future. But plenty of other teams are desperate for a quarterback, like Miami and Washington. Those teams could be interested in trading up to No. 3 to get ahead of the Cleveland Browns, who also may need to draft a quarterback. That puts the Vikings in a very interesting position.
On top of that, the news came out yesterday that Robert Griffin III plans to turn pro and enter the 2012 NFL Draft. Griffin is this past season's Heisman Trophy winner, and is almost certainly going to be the second quarterback taken off the board. There will likely be some movement as teams try and get ahead of Cleveland to grab Griffin if at all possible.
The only thing getting in Minnesota's way would be St. Louis above them, who have their quarterback of the future in Sam Bradford. That being said, the Rams could seriously be looking to use their pick, possibly on a wide receiver. That means the value of Minnesota's pick at No. 3 is at an all-time high. Most feel as though it will cost more to trade up in this draft than any in recent years. Minnesota has some thinking to do, to be sure.
The Minnesota Vikings have a number of needs, having gone from perennial playoff contender to regular season disappointment over the last two seasons. They're sitting at the top-end of the 2012 NFL Draft, with the No. 3 overall pick, and have the luxury of not needing a quarterback. Of course, that doesn't totally eliminate the possibility, but Christian Ponder showed a lot of progress in his rookie season (or maybe that was just a mirage after seeing Donovan McNabb flail about) and the team can grab one of the best players not a signal caller, or potentially even stock up on draft picks.
Well, in the mock drafts, they're using the pick, and they're focusing on last-year's pick of Ponder this year, taking an offensive tackle in SB Nation's 2012 NFL Mock Draft:
Minnesota wins the Matt Kalil prize, getting the best tackle prospect since Jake Long to protect their investment in Christian Ponder ... or Joe Webb. They signed Charlie Johnson from the Colts to be their starting left tackle prior to the 2011 season, and he quickly reminded everyone how Peyton Manning makes linemen look better than they are. Kalil gives them a cornerstone on the line.
Statements like "the best [position] prospect since [really good player here]," are a little scary, given the boom or bust potential when defined as such, but Kalil shows little potential to flame out. Ponder was forced to move around far too much in his rookie season and he could develop bad tendencies that don't leave once he is actually protected. An offensive tackle certainly makes sense here.
The Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a valuable position with the third pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Indianapolis Colts expect to take a quarterback, most likely Andrew Luck, with the top pick in the draft, while early projections have the St. Louis Rams looking to fortify their offensive line to keep Sam Bradford upright, targeting Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil.
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III has become the most intriguing player and he will likely become more and more valuable as the draft process plays out. Assuming the Vikings are ready to move forward with Christian Ponder, they will be looking to find him some additional weapons to utilize.
WalterFootball.com's latest mock draft has the Vikings taking big-time wide receiver Justin Blackmon out of Oklahoma State. He would certainly help Ponder and create a nightmare combo with Percy Harvin for opposing defensive coordinators.
But if RG III, wows the world at the NFL combine and in workouts leading up to the draft, should the Vikings trade back to gather more picks to fill more needs? Mocking the Draft makes the case for this strategy since the Cleveland Browns with the fourth pick could covet Griffin forcing teams to jump to the third pick if they want the dynamic young quarterback.
It also means the Vikings have more options with the third overall pick. If the St. Louis Rams draft Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil, the Vikings will be prime trade partners for anyone wanting to leapfrog the Cleveland Browns to take Griffin. That could give the Vikings numerous picks, to help fill their needs along the offensive line and the defensive backfield. The worst case scenario would be the Rams trade the second pick to a Griffin-wanting team and the Vikings get Kalil.
The Minnesota Vikings' secondary was regularly shredded in 2011, but with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft it looks like Minnesota will try to address that issue. SB Nation's first mock draft has been published, and it has the Vikings picking LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne to provide immediate relief to the pass defense:
3. Minnesota Vikings: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
The second or third picks in the draft will be valuable real estate, depending on what decision Robert Griffin III makes. If the Vikings do keep this pick, they have several options. They could sure use an offensive tackle, but Claiborne is a better player than the two top tackles behind Kalil on the draft board. He also fills a big need for the Vikes.
Robert Griffin III would be an interesting selection if he decides to turn pro, as the vikings invested a first round selection at quarterback in Christian Ponder last season.
Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bears ended a dismal season for the Minnesota Vikings, but there is a small silver-lining in all that losing. the Vikings will now pick No. 3 overall, assuring that they will get a quality player that can make an immediate impact. The Vikings will pick behind first Indianapolis, then St. Louis.
The Vikings have a bevy of players that should be available at the No. 3 spot. If they give up early on Christian Ponder, a solid quarterback such as Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III would possibly be available. LSU linebacker Morris Claiborne is expected to be available as a player that can shore up the Vikings' ailing defense. The Vikings could also look for help along the offensive line or the defensive secondary.
With one week to go in the regular season, it's still plenty early to start considering potential draftees and put together mocks for the 2012 NFL Draft. Well, it's plenty early for a lot of teams, namely those in the playoffs. For the Minnesota Vikings, their offseason will be one of worry as they consider running back Adrian Peterson, but the one bright spot to a lost season is that, with their franchise quarterback already on the roster, the team will have one of the top picks with which to draft one of the nation's best.
The mock drafts, as such, are trickling out, and the Vikings are certainly not suffering from a lack of options. Sitting near the top, they could be in the market for trading out of the pick to a team who is exceedingly quarterback-needy, but there are plenty of good options if they decide to keep it.
Sporting News posted an early mock draft, and they have the Vikings selecting an offensive tackle:
3. Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Martin*, OT, Stanford. Martin is not an aggressive blocker, but he is a top athlete with the feet and technique to protect Christian Ponder's blind side for the next decade.
Stanford features some of the best offensive linemen in the country right now, and they're part of the reason for Andrew Luck's success. Acquiring one of them for Ponder will only help the young quarterback succeed, especially in a division with defense-oriented teams like the Lions and Bears.
The Minnesota Vikings' secondary has been exploited throughout the 2011 NFL season, culminating in last Sunday's demolition by Drew Brees, who threw for 412 yards and five touchdowns. As a result, the Vikings will likely be looking for defensive help in the 2012 NFL Draft. According to ESPN's Todd McShay, the Vikings will pick third and select LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne:
Claiborne is the premier cover corner in the 2012 class, and the Vikings rank 30th in the NFL in pass defense (260 ypg). He has size, fluid hips, good top-end speed and outstanding body control, and he excels at locating and attacking the ball over his shoulder.
The Vikings will be reluctant to take another quarterback with such a high pick with Christian Ponder being a recent first round selection. Claiborne has helped LSU have one of the best defenses in the nation, and the Tigers will play in this year's BCS championship as a result.
In the last 25 NFL Drafts, the Minnesota Vikings have not held a pick higher than the seventh overall selection. They have held the seventh overall pick three times during that stretch. In 2002, they selected University of Miami offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, and in 2005 (thanks to a pick that was acquired from the Oakland Raiders in the Randy Moss trade), they selected South Carolina "wide receiver" Troy Williamson. Then, in 2007, they used the seventh overall pick on some running back out of Oklahoma named Adrian Peterson who, from all accounts, has panned out alright.
Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints, however, guarantees that the Vikings will have the highest pick they have had since selecting Chris Doleman at #4 overall in the 1985 NFL Draft. The Vikings dropped to 2-12 on Sunday, ensuring that they can win no more than four games this season. With 26 other NFL teams having at least five victories already, that means that the Vikings' pick will be one of the first six selections of the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Vikings are still in the race for the top overall selection, thanks to the Indianapolis Colts getting their first victory of 2011 on Sunday. In their history, the Vikings have had the top overall selection in the draft twice, but in both of those cases it had nothing to do with their play on the field. Minnesota selected Tulane running back Tommy Mason with the top pick in the 1961 Draft, but that came before they had ever played an NFL game. They selected USC offensive tackle Ron Yary #1 overall in 1968, but that pick was not theirs. . .it was a selection they acquired from the New York Giants as part of the trade that sent quarterback Fran Tarkenton to New York.
Will the Vikings "earn" the right to select first overall in 2012? As a Vikings fan, I hope not, but it certainly is a distinct possibility.
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