Matt Kalil to Minnesota Vikings: USC Left Tackle Selected Fourth Overall

Tanner ThomsSenior Analyst IApril 26, 2012

Rick Spielman fooled us all—and perhaps that was his plan.

After weeks of speculation that the Vikings would select Morris Claiborne over Matt Kalil, Minnesota decided to take their left tackle of the future.

After trading down from No. 3 with the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota remained at No. 4, where they would go on to take Kalil.

In the process, Minnesota snagged extra picks in this year's fourth, fifth and seventh rounds. The Vikings now have 13 total picks, with four in the Round 4.

Matt Kalil starred at blindside tackle for the Trojans the last two years. There's no doubt that he played a crucial part in Matt Barkley's success in 2011.

Kalil, who goes 6'7", 300 pounds, is considered to be the best tackle prospect since Joe Thomas in 2007. If you take a look at his game tape, it's not hard to see why.

As for the Vikings, they started Charlie Johnson at left tackle for the entirety of the 2011 season. This move turned out to be a disaster, though. Johnson was frequently burned by defensive ends, and it's clear he's not the player he once was with the Colts.

With Kalil now a Minnesota Viking, Johnson's days with the Vikings are likely over. There is not a tackle prospect in this year's draft that is more NFL-ready than Kalil.

Selecting Kalil is likely something that quarterback Christian Ponder was pushing for. I'm clearly speculating there, but I'm sure he didn't want to get hit quite as many times as he did in his rookie year.

This is also good news for Adrian Peterson, who has been making the most of a pedestrian offensive line. He will now be able to run with ease on the left side. Although it's unclear who the Vikings plan to start at left guard, Geoff Schwartz is expected to be the favorite.

Drafting Kalil will make an impact on every facet of the Vikings' offense. Not only is he a dominant pass-blocker, he excels at run-blocking, too.

Minnesota basically landed the complete prototypical left tackle.

There is no doubt that this is a tremendous move for the future of the franchise. Kalil has the type of potential that could make him a Pro Bowl tackle every year of his career.

With their offensive line situation looking tremendous, the Vikings can focus on finding talent in the secondary and other areas of need with their 12 other picks.

Congrats to Rick Spielman for a tremendous trade and draft selection, and congratulations to Matt Kalil.

Welcome to Minnesota!