March 28, 2012; Palm Beach, FL, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier (center) listens to a reporters questions during the NFC head coaches media breakfast at the Breakers Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

NFL Draft Rumors: Vikings Eyeing Morris Claiborne

If they keep the pick, the Minnesota Vikings appear to be leaning towards Morris Claiborne over Matt Kalil.

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NFL Trade Rumors: Bills Interested In Vikings' Top Pick

NFL analyst Charley Casserly is reporting that the Buffalo Bills are interested in the Minnesota Vikings' third pick in the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday evening.

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.

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, go to Daily Norseman. You can also get all of your professional football news over at SB Nation's NFL hub, or check out SB Nation's YouTube channel:

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2012 NFL Draft: Start Time, TV Schedule And More

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.

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NFL Draft 2012: Only Two Choices Make Sense For Vikings' Pick

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.

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NFL Draft Rumors: Vikings May Trade Back In Second, Third Rounds

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.


Related: Minnesota Vikings Stadium: Duh-Pocalypse Now?

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.

For more on the Vikings, head over to Daily Norseman. For more NFL coverage, be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL hub.

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Mel Kiper Mock Draft 2012: ESPN Expert Says Vikings Should Trade Down

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?

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, go to Daily Norseman. You can also get all of your professional football news over at SB Nation's NFL hub.

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NFL Draft: Matt Kalil Has 'Very Good' Visit With Vikings

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.

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NFL Mock Draft 2012: ESPN Gives Minnesota Vikings Alshon Jeffery, Matt Kalil

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?

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, go to Daily Norseman. You can also get all of your professional football news over at SB Nation's NFL hub.

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2012 NFL Draft: Trade Could Still Happen With Minnesota Vikings' Pick

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.

The Rams now have Washington's No. 6 overall pick. St. Louis would love to have cornerback Morris Claiborne of Louisiana State or wide receiver Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State.

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.


Related: No More Drama Surrounding Vikings' Draft Pick Following Rams-Redskins Trade

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.

For more Vikings coverage, check out Daily Norseman. For all things related to the NFL Draft, visit Mocking the Draft.

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2012 NFL Draft: No More Drama Surrounding Vikings' Pick

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, be sure to check out The Daily Norseman. You can also get your NFL fix by checking out SB Nation's NFL hub.

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NFL Mock Draft 2012: ESPN Expert Says Matt Kalil To Minnesota Vikings

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.

Two other players suggested by some for the Vikings went in short order as McShay sent Morris Claiborne to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Riley Reiff to the Washington Redskins.

For more Vikings coverage, check out Daily Norseman. For all things related to the NFL Draft, visit Mocking the Draft.

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NFL Mock Draft 2012: Matt Kalil Still Projected To The Minnesota Vikings

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.

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, go to Daily Norseman. You can also get all of your professional football news over at SB Nation's NFL hub.

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NFL Draft Combine: Matt Kalil Impressive In Workout, Among Fastest Linemen

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.

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, go to Daily Norseman. You can also get all of your professional football news over at SB Nation's NFL hub.

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NFL Mock Draft 2012: Vikings Take Matt Kalil Again In Latest SB Nation Mock

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.

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, check out The Daily Norseman. For more on the NFL in general, head to the NFL hub at sbnation.com/NFL.

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NFL Draft: Matt Kalil To Meet With Vikings Friday

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.

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, go to Daily Norseman. You can also get all of your professional football news over at SB Nation's NFL hub.

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NFL Draft 2012: Vikings General Manager Says Team Won't Rule Out Drafting Quarterback

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:

Spielman: #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.

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, go to Daily Norseman. You can also get all of your professional football news over at SB Nation's NFL hub.

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NFL Mock Draft 2012: Mel Kiper Says Minnesota Vikings Should Select Matt Kalil

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.

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