Minnesota Vikings: Assessing the Vikings' Options with the 3rd Pick

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Minnesota Vikings: Assessing the Vikings' Options with the 3rd Pick
Jeff Golden/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings have their highest pick in the draft since they owned the first overall pick in 1968. The good news is, with so many needs, the only way the Minnesota Vikings can mess up the third pick in the 2012 NFL Draft would be to take too long to complete a deal in an attempt to move down, and fall two places in the draft—the exact scenario that occurred in 2003 when the Vikings were supposed to pick seventh and dropped to ninth.

It wasn't all bad that year. With the ninth pick they selected defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who is a five-time First Team All Pro. The players selected at seven and nine? Quarterback Byron Leftwich and offensive tackle Jordan Gross, respectively. At the time, the Vikings said they got their man, and looking back, they were right.

Enough looking back. Let's look at this year's draft, and the options the Vikings have.

The only positions the Vikings don't have a hole to plug might be defensive end, punter and, arguably, quarterback. No matter who the Vikings select, he is sure to improve the team.

There's been plenty of draft speculation lately. WalterFootball.com compiled an extensive list of mock drafts in cyberspace dating as far back as May of 2011. 

The results from 243 drafts overwhelmingly have the Vikings selecting offensive tackle Matt Kalil from USC. In 35.8 percent of the drafts, he was the third player selected.

Cornerback Morris Claiborne finished second on 21.0 percent of the mock drafts, followed closely by Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon at 20.6 percent of the time.

Quickly dropping off to round out the top four, North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples was on 11 of the drafts—half of these were projected before the 2011 season. 

There is always the option for the Vikings to trade their third pick and move down in the draft, picking up another draft pick or two, which is a very plausible option.

Here are seven potential scenarios that could play out for the Vikings when it's their turn to make a selection.

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