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NFL Draft 2012: Grading the Minnesota Vikings Selection of Matt Kalil

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Matt Kalil (R) from USC holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected #4 overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Tim ArcandCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2016

To no one's surprise, the Minnesota Vikings and general manager Rick Spielman made the right move Thursday and selected USC tackle Matt Kalil in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft.

The surprise was that Spielman was able to engineer a trade with Cleveland, swapping first round picks while gaining an additional fourth, fifth and seventh round selection from the Browns.

Like most GM's, Spielman was not about to reveal any information as to who the Vikings had at the top of their board before their turn on the clock. Last week he indicated that Kalil, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon were all in consideration, and equally rated by the Vikings.

Without a doubt, any of these picks would have been an upgrade, filling a huge need for the Vikings, however, Kalil was the right choice to make.

The 2012 NFL Draft prospect ranking from cbssports.com agrees, having Kalil ranked as not only the top lineman in the draft, but the highest non-quarterback and third overall behind Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III from Baylor. 

According to Charlie Campbell at WalterFootball.com, Kalil has the potential to be a cornerstone lineman for the next 10 years in the NFL. About his only weakness might be his run blocking, but if he can protect Christian Ponder's blindside, the Vikings will take it.

Last season as a junior, Kalil led the USC offensive line, allowing the fewest sacks in college football. According to ESPN he did not give up a single sack on his way to being named the best offensive lineman in the Pac-12 for 2011.

Spielman and the Vikings got this one right.

Grade: A+

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