Until about a week ago, Matt Kalil was almost assured of his shiny new Minnesota Vikings uniform on April 26, and a picture while wearing purple and shaking hands with Roger Goodell. Then a combination of billowing smoke coming from the Metrodome–which sadly is a nice alternative to an avalanche–and scouts absurdly saying that he’s a self-entitled douchebag led to thoughts of a potential tumble out of the top three, and maybe even the top five.
While the temptation to draft Justin Blackmon to follow the Bengals’ mould they established last season of pairing a young receiver with an equally young QB could be difficult to resist, the Vikings need to exercise some will power. To spare his confidence and give him a fair shot at developing, Christian Ponder needs time to throw and go through his progressions properly, and he needs to stay health.
Obtaining the most athletic and mobile offensive lineman in the draft will go a long way towards achieving those goals, and that’s why Kalil remains the priority. We talked to Ted Glover from the Daily Norseman and he agreed, although he still acknowledged that there are indeed other temptations lurking.
1. Are the rumors of the Vikings drafting anyone not named Kalil just your typical pre-draft smoke with little fire?
I think so, but you could make a case for Morris Claiborne being a legitimate pick. Both the offensive line and secondary for the Vikings were dumpster fires last year, but by picking Kalil the Vikings actually improve two spots on the line, as last year’s LT Charlie Johnson can move inside to play guard, his natural position. Kalil is the heavy favorite, though.
2. Of all the reported names the Vikings could be interested in aside from Kalil in the first round, Michael Floyd would be making the most significant jump. If supporting Ponder with a wide receiver is the chosen direction, wouldn’t Blackmon be the better option?
Yeah, but if you have two guys that are that close at one position, neither of them are worth taking at No. 3 overall. Take the guy who is head and shoulders above everyone at his position, and that’s Kalil. Besides, if Ponder is running for his life because the offensive line is still terrible, getting a WR really doesn’t make much sense.
3. As the Ryan Tannehill buzz has increased, so has the speculation that the Vikings could trade out of the No. 3 slot. Do you think that’s still a possibility?
If the price is right, sure. But I’m not sure a Washington trade for the #2 pick is out there. GM Rick Spielman needs to infuse the roster with talent at a lot of different positions, so it would be wrong not to listen to trade offers. But the Vikings have to be careful about trading down too far to miss out on real impact players.
4. What needs would you like to see addressed beyond the first round?
Assuming Kalil goes at No. 3, the next priorities are the defensive backfield and WR, not necessarily in that order. After that, they need interior help on the defensive line, and from there they’ll need depth at linebacker. The good thing is that this is a deep draft for WRs and DBs, and the Vikes have 10 picks, so they should be able to address most, if not all, of those needs.