2012 NFL Draft: Why Vikings Should Select Matt Kalil over Other 2 Targets

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IApril 19, 2012

The Minnesota Vikings need to take offensive tackle Matt Kalil out of USC with the No. 3 overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft.

According to TwinCities.com, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has narrowed his options for the No. 3 overall pick to three players: Kalil, wide receiver Justin Blackmon out of Oklahoma State and cornerback Morris Claiborne out of LSU.


"What you're saying (to the staff) is, 'All these guys have equal ability. What do you want? Do you want the receiver? Do you want the tackle? Do you want the corner?'"

While you could make the case for each of the three, there should be no doubt in their minds that the most important aspect to consider is the protection of their franchise quarterback, Christian Ponder.

Per ESPN, last year, the Vikings were tied for the fifth-worst in the NFL at giving up sacks (49).

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Charlie Johnson as the NFL's worst starting left tackle in his BR 1000 rankings, saying:

Johnson really shouldn't be a starter in the NFL. He made the move to left tackle in 2011 in Minnesota out of necessity. He's young enough (a six-year veteran) to make a move to the right side, or even guard, and save his career. 

If the Vikings make the smart choice and select Kalil in the first round, they can then finally take Johnson out of the lineup and put him on the bench where he belongs.

The NFL is a passing league. Nobody will argue that fact. 

That being said, taking Kalil won't just help Ponder and the passing game. Adrian Peterson is still the best running back in the NFL, and Kalil will give him more room to run. 

Draftek.com's scouting report on Kalil in the running game:

In run blocking, Kalil is quick off the snap, maintains good pad level and leverage, and utilizes the strength in both his upper and lower body to drive his opponent off the line. He has excellent hand placement (inside the numbers), progresses well to the second level and shows acceptable (not great) mobility in blocking secondary targets. Kalil occasionally exhibits some of that "mean streak" I love, taking advantage of off-balance defenders with a "pancake block".

As good as Claiborne and Blackmon are at their positions, they don't hold a candle to what Kalil will do for the Vikings in 2012 and beyond.

There aren't many elite offensive tackles coming out of college from year to year. Kalil is one of them, and the Vikings need to make the smart choice and forget about anyone else.