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2012 NFL Mock Draft: SB Nation Has Vikings Taking Matt Kalil With No. 3 Pick

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:

3. Minnesota Vikings, Matt Kalil, OT, USC

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.

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, go to Daily Norseman. You can also head over to SB Nation's main NFL hub at SBNation.com/NFL.

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