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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper Sticks With Matt Kalil

The 2012 NFL Draft is creeping closer and closer. Peyton Manning's release on Wednesday and impending decision about where to play in 2012 will shape the outcome of the top picks in the draft, but not so much for the Minnesota Vikings. ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper posted his latest 2012 NFL mock draft on Wednesday, and he has a familiar face in spot three for the Vikes.

Once again, Kiper has them drafting USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil.

This is one I'm going to stick with. I've liked the pick since the first mock, and I don't see a reason to change. Minnesota needs an upgrade at left tackle, and Kalil is the rare one who could step into that position right away at the NFL level. There's a lot of talk about which quarterback will go where right now, but this pick is about keeping Christian Ponder upright for the Vikings. They won't know what they have unless they can block for him. And it's obvious this will help the running game, too.

Left tackles are not the most exciting players, but they are among the most important.

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

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