NFL Draft 2012: Why the Minnesota Vikings Should Select WR Justin Blackmon

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NFL Draft 2012: Why the Minnesota Vikings Should Select WR Justin Blackmon
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
OSU WR Justin Blackmon catches one of his three touchdowns against Stanford in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl.

There are likely two players on the top of the Minnesota Vikings draft board for the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft: Southern California tackle Matt Kalil and Oklahoma State wideout Justin Blackmon.

And a debate that has ravaged the "Twin Cities" fan base has been the question of, who do the Vikings select with the third overall pick in the draft?

The Vikings were allegedly interested in bringing free agent receivers Pierre Garcon or Vincent Jackson in to relinquish the debate. But with Garcon signing with the Washington Redskins and Vincent Jackson signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers...and the rival Chicago Bears giving up a pair of third-round picks for Pro-Bowl MVP Brandon Marshall, Viking fans are nervous as ever where the receiving yards will come from.

With Indianapolis and Washington likely to select quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, respectively, the Vikings have their pick of the litter of who they want to take after that.

For some fans, it is Kalil. Kalil, a 6' 7" 306-pound left tackle, would help shore up a depleted Vikings offensive line that recently saw the release of aging All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson, who recently signed with the Tennessee Titans.

Kalil was named the 2011 Morris Trophy winner and was the cornerstone of a Trojan offensive line that helped gain 456 yards a game on offense and a FCS-low eight sacks...none of which were given by Kalil.

 

Who should the Vikings select with the third pick in the 2012 NFL Draft?

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While Kalil is a very talented player, the NFL is evolving into a pass-first league; so much so that the San Francisco 49ers signed Randy Moss to a one-year deal after the 35-year-old sat out last season after retiring. 

The draft is very deep at the tackle position, and there are some quality lineman that the Vikings can get later in with the third pick of the second round (Mike Adams of Ohio State, Zebrie Sanders of Florida State, or Bobby Massie of Ole Miss).

In order to compete with the high-octane offenses in the NFC North that have evolved from bruising running games to high-flying passing attacks, the Vikings need to select an elite wide receiver.

Enter Oklahoma State wideout Blackmon. He is a 6' 1", 200-pound blur that will be able to stretch the field for second-year quarterback Christian Ponder and the Vikings' offense. The two-time Biletnikoff Award winner holds the NCAA record for most consecutive 100 and 200 yard games. During his last two years in Stillwater, Blackmon hauled in 232 receptions for 3304 yards and 38 touchdowns.

If the Vikings select Blackmon in the first round then they could use the second round to address their secondary issue, possibly with Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick or North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins. Then there should be a sneaky third round pick staring them in the face:

Boise State's Nate Potter.

 

Potter played right tackle for an offense that averaged almost 500 yards of offense per game the last two seasons, and for a line that gave up only eight sacks in each of the last two seasons.

Moore is a left-handed quarterback, and Potter has been protecting Moore's blindside from the right tackle position as a result, which is why drafting Potter would be a good pick. He could flip between the left and right side relatively easily.

The main knock on Potter, however, is that he lacks the strength to adequately block for a strong running game, which is what the Vikings focal point is with All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson.

Percy Harvin is the top receiver on the Vikings roster, but he has had his share of injuries and is usually on a day-to-day basis with migraines. With the Vikings number-two receiver currently being Emmanuel Arceneaux (Greg Camarillo and Devin Aromashodu are free agents), the Vikings are in dire need of legitimate receiving threat that can compete in shootouts against division rivals Green Bay and Detroit.

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