2012 NFL Draft: 3 Possible Players for the Minnesota Vikings to Draft at No. 3

Soven BerySenior Analyst IFebruary 24, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 3 Possible Players for the Minnesota Vikings to Draft at No. 3

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    This 2012 draft class isn’t chock-full of talent. In fact there is a huge drop-off in production after the Top 10.

    Thankfully, the Vikings have endured a strenuous season and have been awarded the third pick in this year's draft. 

    That means Minnesota has a chance at these coveted prospects. But not all cookie-cutter molds are the best option. The Vikes have to think wisely when making this decision. 

    Who will it be? 

    With the third pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Vikings will select the playmaker of the future. Could the next purple people eater come from this class?

Matt Kalil

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    If the sun continues to shine, then the Colts will take Andrew Luck. It is a certainty.

    The question now becomes, who will the St. Louis Rams take? 

    The likeliest choice here is that the Rams trade the second pick away to a quarterback-starved team and Robert Griffin III goes off the board. 

    This does not disrupt the Vikings' plans at all. Since Christian Ponder is the likely quarterback of the future, Minnesota has to protect him.

    That protection comes in the form of former USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil. The 306-pound Kalil is the best offensive tackle prospect since Jake Long. He is guaranteed to be an opening-day starter.

    While the Vikings have other holes they need to fill, they simply can't pass up on Kalil. 

    He would give Ponder time to make good passes and let Adrian Peterson run wild. Charlie Johnson was not the best option at left tackle this season, and Kalil will provide a much-needed boost as a franchise tackle. 

Justin Blackmon

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    Another way the Vikings can help their future quarterback is by drafting this receiver out of OK State. 

    Blackmon has already proven that he is an elite receiver lighting up stadiums with his physicality and speed. Having a target like Blackmon will only make second-year quarterback Ponder even better. He fights for yards after the catch and is able to run-block when needed. 

    Blackmon will be a huge improvement over Percy Harvin. His presence also takes the load off the hands of Harvin. No longer is Harvin needed to be an elite receiver—he can go back to doing what he did before Sidney Rice left. 

    Blackmon is tough as nails and is a true fighter. We could be seeing Ponder to Blackmon touchdowns for a while to come. 

     

Morris Claiborne

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    This pick shouldn't be out of the question.

    While there are problems on offense, Minnesota also faces challenges on the defensive side of the ball. This cornerback from LSU would be a player that could shut down opposing receivers and force turnovers. 

    This is a Vikings team that ranked 26th in the league this season when it came to defending the pass. Jamarca Sanford led the team in interceptions with two. Claiborne is a shutdown corner and will help an atrocious secondary. 

    Claiborne has "can't-miss prospect" written all over him. He will make a huge impact from Day 1.