2012 NFL Draft: With Kalil and Smith, Minnesota Vikings Are Big Winners on Day 1

Matt KasperCorrespondent IIApril 26, 2012

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

At the beginning of draft day, Minnesota Vikings fans fully anticipated that the team would try and make some moves with the No. 3 overall pick. Few imagined just how much the Vikings would end up doing on the first day. To start, lets go through the trades they made.

The first trade of the day happened just before the start of the draft, when the Vikings traded the No. 3 pick to the Cleveland Browns for the No. 4, No. 118, No. 139 and No. 211 picks. The Browns moved up to select RB Trent Richardson while the Vikings still got their top target in OT Matt Kalil.

Now sitting with 13 selections in this year's draft, the Vikings were set to move up and get another player they were targeting. Nervous that S Harrison Smith wouldn't last until their No. 35 overall pick in round two, the Vikings packaged that 35th pick along with their fourth round (98th overall) to acquire the Ravens No. 29 pick. 

Kalil and Smith appear set to move immediately into the starting lineup for the Vikings. Kalil fills a gigantic hole at left tackle and Smith will hopefully help take care of one of the Vikings longest running problems in pass defense.

The Kalil pick will allow the Vikings to move Charlie Johnson to left guard, where he is better suited to play. Having Kalil and Johnson on the left side will give the Vikings 2011 first-round pick QB Christian Ponder time to set up in the pocket and help him develop in his second year in the league.

Safety has been a problem for the Vikings since the late 1990s, when Orlando Thomas and Robert Griffin were manning the SS and FS positions. A revolving door of underachieving players played in the defensive backfield over the last few years, leading to one of the worst pass defenses in NFL history. With CBs Chris Cook, Antoine Winfield and new addition Chris Carr, the addition of Smith at safety could usher in a drastic improvement next season.

Vikings fans should be ecstatic with GM Rick Spielman's moves in round one. The additions of Kalil and Smith should be immediate upgrades to two glaring weaknesses on the Vikings.Gaining two immediate starters in the first round, while still gaining extra picks later in the draft puts the Vikings day one moves among, if not at the top of, the best draft in the league thus far.

Still holding onto ten picks in rounds three through seven, expect him to make plenty of more moves throughout the rest of the draft.