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Mel Kiper Mock Draft 2012: ESPN Expert Says Vikings Should Trade Down

Mel Kiper's annual NFL mock drafts are things of legend so, when he writes something related to your favorite football team, it's certainly worth reading. The ESPN expert released a different version of his 2012 ruminations on Wednesday as he wrote what he thought teams should do, not necessarily what they will do.

Kiper's thought process on the Vikings was pretty well-reasoned. He opined the Vikings should take Matt Kalil if they are unable to trade down in the first round, Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Harrison Smith in the second round and Iowa Hawkeyes receiver Marvin McNutt in the third round for the reasons included below.

Analysis: Corner is a big need for me if I'm Minnesota, which is why I can see them very tempted on Morris Claiborne, but left tackle is equally important. If they don't protect Christian Ponder, they really won't be able to effectively audit his progress. I put trading down as an option because I do it if it's clear a team will give up a ton of value to get into that No. 3 slot, so the Vikings should be entertaining offers all the way. But if that can't happen, they should be plenty happy to add Kalil, a rare tackle ready to come in and start right away on the left side. The pick of Smith in Round 2 shores up a significant need at safety, and McNutt in Round 3 fills a void at wide receiver. He gives Minnesota a bigger target and different dimension to pair with the smaller Percy Harvin.

It's unlikely anyone is going to be mad about adding a left tackle in the first round followed by a defensive back and wide receiver with the Vikings next two picks, but did Kiper select the right players for Minnesota?

For more on the Minnesota Vikings, go to Daily Norseman. You can also get all of your professional football news over at SB Nation's NFL hub.

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