LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Matt Kalil #75 of the USC Trojans speaks to reporters after his blocked field goal in the final seconds of the game preserved a 17-14 win over the Utah Utes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
We are still nearly seven weeks away from the 2012 NFL Draft, but a move that took place in the late hours of Friday night has all but solidified the top three picks of this year's selection meeting. Or, at the very least, it should have.
Proving the old adage that birds have to fly, fish have to swim, and the Washington Redskins need to overpay for things, Daniel Snyder's club sent a cadre of draft choices to the St. Louis Rams. . .a package that included three first-round picks and a second-round choice. . .for the rights to move up to the second overall spot in the draft. This all but guarantees that they will select Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III after the Indianapolis Colts take Stanford signal-caller Andrew Luck with the top overall selection.
So, after hearing all season long about teams attempting to "Suck for Luck," in Minnesota, Friday night's trade should "Seal the Deal for Kalil."
Yes, there is absolutely, positively no doubt in this writer's mind that the safe. . .and sane. . .pick for the Minnesota Vikings with the third pick in the 2012 National Football League Draft should be USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil. Based on his performance at USC, where he did not allow a sack in his entire college career, and the way he blew everyone away at the NFL Combine makes him the best non-quarterback in this year's draft. He also just so happens to fit in at the Vikings' biggest position of need, allowing the team to fix their entire offensive front with his addition. Charlie Johnson will slide inside to guard, where he is better suited, and the Vikings will be markedly better at protecting Christian Ponder and opening holes for Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart.
Honestly, if the Vikings take anybody but Matt Kalil with the #3 overall pick, then everyone in the front office needs to be sacked in-between Round 1 and Round 2. The pick should be that obvious at this point.
This is a good thing for Minnesota, I can assure you. However, there are people out there that feel as though the Vikings would have been better off not playing to win late in the 2011 season, such as in their game against the Washington Redskins. . .the game that, ultimately, cost them the #2 overall pick and the opportunity to fleece the Redskins like the Rams did. If you're one of the people that feels that way, and you've found your way to this article, I have one thing I'd like to say:
Stop. Just stop. Seriously.
Yes, it's easy for us as fans to sit here and say that a team should "tank" towards the end of the season in order to improve their draft position and things like that. But no self-respecting athlete, and certainly no group of self-respecting athletes, are going to go out and attempt to lose. That's against the inherent mindset of the professional athlete, and it would be pretty much impossible to get a team to go along with it.
Just between you, your monitor, and I, most players don't really give a rip about draft position. Why would they? Just take a look at the Vikings. . .they have 18 players that were on the roster at the end of last season that will hit the free agent market this Tuesday. Do you think any of them care whether the Vikings are selecting at #2 or #3 overall? Heck no, they don't. . .those guys want to be employed when training camps open in July. Do you think they want coaches and front office guys from other team putting on the tape of them and seeing that they quit when things got rough? I have my doubts.
So, yes, the Vikings aren't going to have a ton of extra picks in the next couple of drafts. We, as Vikings fans, will simply have to settle for being able to plug a guy in at the left tackle position and not having to worry about that spot for the next dozen years.
Somehow, I think the Vikings. . .and their fans. . .will be okay.