The NFL draft begins tonight at 7:00 PM CDT. With the Indianapolis Colts already committed to drafting Stanford quarterback (QB) Andrew Luck with the first pick in the draft and the Washington Redskins poised to select Baylor QB Robert Griffin III with the second pick the Minnesota Vikings are essentially on the clock right now.
There has been talk about the Vikings possibly trading the #3 overall pick and moving down in the first round of tonight’s draft. It is widely believed that if the Vikings hold on to the #3 pick they will select left tackle (LT) Matt Kalil of USC with that pick. Other possibilities include the Vikings selecting LSU cornerback (CB) Morris Claiborne, Oklahoma State wide receiver (WR) Justin Blackmon or Alabama running back (RB) Trent Richardson at #3.
Barring a no-brainer trade offer the Vikings should stay put at #3 and select Kalil. Wide receiver is a position of need for the Vikings but not their biggest one. Cornerback is also a clear position of need and Claiborne would be an enormous improvement over anybody on the current Vikings roster. Solid CBs, however, can often be found later in the draft and a team really needs two solid cornerbacks, not just one.
Claiborne and Blackmon are certainly blue-chip players and would fill needs the Vikings have. Richardson is in the same league that current Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was coming out of college, namely an immense talent and as close to a “can’t-miss” as you can get.
Like Richardson, Kalil is also a “can’t-miss” player. He would fill a huge hole in the Vikings lineup and can solidify the very important LT position for the next 10-12 seasons. The Vikings clearly need to improve at LT with Bryant McKinnie being released during training camp in 2011 and Charlie Johnson, a guard most of his career, doing his best but not quite measuring up at the position during the 2011 season.
The Vikings also parted ways with two other starters from their 2011 starting offensive line; guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera. Drafting Kalil provides the Vikings the best opportunity to improve quickly and solidifies a third key position on offense. Although he is coming off knee surgery Adrian Peterson is under contract long-term and a superstar at RB. Christian Ponder, the Vikings first round pick in 2011, is the starting QB and by drafting Kalil the Vikings will almost certainly be better at protecting Ponder and at running the football than they were in 2011.
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