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

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.

3. Minnesota Vikings, Matt Kalil, OT, USC

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.

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, go to Daily Norseman. Don't forget to check out Mocking The Draft for all things NFL Draft. You can also head over to SB Nation's main NFL hub at

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.