ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. has a new mock draft out and he's saying that not only will Matt Kalil, the massive offensive tackle from the USC Trojans be available, but that the Minnesota Vikings will draft him.
For once, I completely agree with Mel.
There were alternative scenarios that could have made things end up differently, but it seems Kiper got it right: The Vikings enter free agency and the draft with a lot of holes to fill, and there are a lot of different ways they can go with the number three overall pick.
The sexy pick would be wide receiver Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State -- he'd provide Christian Ponder with a legitimate deep threat to complement Percy Harvin -- but if Ponder doesn't have time to set up in the pocket and go through his progressions, Blackmon is a waste. Pass on Blackmon with no regrets.
Alternatively, I could see a scenario where St. Louis, picking second, might pick Kalil considering new coach Jeff Fisher undoubtedly realizes that the Rams offensive line is almost as bad as Minnesota's. Let's assume there are no offers to trade down and the Vikings are forced to make a selection, and like me, they've ruled out Blackmon.
Well, fortunately -- or unfortunately, depending on your perspective -- the Vikings need help at multiple positions, one of them being defensive back. The best option in this scenario is LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, a solid cover guy that would provide an immediate boost to a secondary that was just horrid this past season.
There's one final scenario out there that warrants discussion, however and that's the one that's most intriguing: Andrew Luck goesfirst overall and Kalil goes to the Rams at No. 2, leaving the Vikings at No. 3 with Robert Griffin III on the board. Using the NFL Draft trade value chart, which is used by almost every team when trying to figure out value in trading draft picks, the third overall pick is worth 2,200 points.
RG III, as he's known, will be a hot commodity and there will be several teams salivating over him, leaving the Vikings in the enviable position of inciting an auction of sorts. If that happens, anything is possible. If teams decide to stick to the script, though, the Vikings could expect to get a first and a second round pick, minimum, while only moving down a few spots.
If there's a team in the back of the draft that feels they need to upgrade the QB position (ahem, Denver, for example, at 25) the Vikings could be looking at something close to what Atlanta paid to move up to get Julio Jones last year. In that deal, the Falcons moved up from 27 to 6 to get Jones, but it cost them dearly ... In addition to the swapping of the first round picks, Atlanta also gave the Cleveland Browns their second and fourth round picks in last years draft, and a second and fourth rounder in this year's draft. That's a total of five picks to move up from 27 to 6 -- very similar from a 25 to 3 move.
The bottom line is that the Vikings have a lot of options open to them. For yours truly, however, my choice would be A) draft Matt Kalil if available; B) trade down and reap the reward of having RG III on the board; or C) draft Morris Claiborne.
Any of those choices would be good moves for the Vikings, but it seems Kiper got it right if the first two picks go as projected.
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.