2012 Phinsider Community NFL Mock Draft - Pick 3, Minnesota Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings are on the clock, as we continue the 2012 Phinsider Community NFL Mock Draft. Yesterday, we had the Indianapolis Colts select quarterback Andrew Luck, with the Washington Redskins following right behind them, selecting quarterback Robert Griffin III. With the top two quarterbacks off the table, it's now time to see where the Vikings turn. Will they look to get second year quarterback Christian Ponder weapons? Or, do they look to protect their 2011 first round selection with a lineman here in the first round this year?

Pick Team Player
1 Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck, QB
2 Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III, QB

Let's take a look at the team, before we get to their pick:

Team: Minnesota Vikings

GM: NJ13

And, the pick is in. Let's go to the podium:

With the third overall pick, the Minnesota Vikings select:

Height: 6' 7", Weight: 306 lbs.

From NJ13:

As Minnesota's GM, I've pretty much been on the clock since Washington traded up to #2. Luck has been gone since the end of the regular season, and RG3 has been gone since the trade. So - how do I go about turning this Viking ship around?

In my eyes, the team has 3 main weaknesses:

1. Offensive line - They gave up 49 sacks in the regular season, 5th most in the NFL. In addition, they allowed an additional 76 QB hits, which is not good considering I invested a top-12 pick on our QB of the future last year. Finally, they allowed 73 tackles for loss, tied for 5th worst in the league.

2. Secondary - They finished 26th in passing yards allowed and last in passing TDs allowed last season. They finished the season with 8 interceptions. Eight. One per two games, good enough for dead last in the league. Only one player had more than one interception last season - Jamarca Sanford had 2. The rest of our secondary each had as many picks as Jared Allen. Our top cornerback finished 74th in passes defensed. Ouch.

3. Wide Receiver - Outside of Percy Harvin, the cupboard is pretty bare here. Our #2 and #3 WRs combined for 64 catches, 934 yards, and 4 TDs. To put that in perspective, receivers who had comparable production by themselves include Darrius Heyward-Bey, Steve Breaston, and Early Doucet - not exactly great company. When you consider Harvin's injury history, we could use an upgrade here.

I'm immediately going to eliminate WR at #3. I think Blackmon will be a good to great receiver in the league, but he is a reach at #3 in my opinion. If he were more in the Calvin Johnson/Andre Johnson mold, I'd probably be singing a different tune. However, since our other needs our more pressing, and this draft is deep at wideout, I'm going to give Blackmon a pass.

There are really only 2 choices here - Morris Claiborne or Matt Kalil. Both could immediately make significant contributions at their positions. Claiborne gives us a shutdown corner who could potentially cut the field in half for opposing QBs. Kalil is a franchise left tackle who would help keep my young QB upright and not running for his life all the time.

Ultimately, my choice is made by two main factors. First, the talent gap between Kalil and the 2nd round tackles is wider than the gap between Claiborne and the 2nd round CBs. (Plus, there is more depth at CB in the upper half of the draft). Secondly, drafting a left tackle will improve 2 positions by allowing us to move Charlie Johnson to guard, where he is more comfortable. Therefore, with the 3rd pick in the draft, the Minnesota Vikings select Matt Kalil, Tackle, University of Southern California.

(Note - From now until the draft, I'm talking up Claiborne at every opportunity, seeing if I can get Cleveland or Tampa Bay to trade up. Both have greater needs than OT, and I wouldn't mind an extra pick or two to fill some holes.)

From Walter Football:

Projected Round (2012): Top-5 Pick.
3/13/12: Kalil had an excellent showing at the Combine, and the talk of him falling behind Riley Reiff was silenced. In Indianapolis, Kalil showed off natural athleticism and quickness. He followed that up with a good pro day. Kalil has added 10 pounds of muscle since the end of the season and that power should help him improve his run blocking.

In the rushing attack, Kalil had some spotty play at times in the second half of the season. The added weight should help him to be able to blast linemen off the ball in the ground game. Kalil was a decent run blocker at the college level, but for the next level, he still has room for improvement. Kalil's bread and butter is his elite pass protection. Throughout the 2011 season, he was a superb blind side protector for quarterback Matt Barkley. Kalil didn't draw many top-shelf pass rushers, but the junior shutdown everybody he went against.

Entering the NFL, Kalil is a dynamite pass blocker who projects to being a franchise left tackle for a decade. It is a passing driven league, and he is in high demand. Kalil has done nothing but solidify his stock at the top of the first round.

8/20/11: Matt Kalil is a top-flight left tackle prospect. His quality play kept Tyron Smith on the right side last year. Kalil did an excellent job of protecting Matt Barkley in 2010 and looks poised to build on that success in 2011. Kalil has strong blood lines with his father and brother making it into the league. He looks like a very safe pick, and a player that won't get out of the top five. Kalil is a specimen that should only get stronger as he ages in an NFL strength and conditioning program. He is technically sound, and ready for the NFL.

The Cleveland Browns are on the clock.

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