There was some moving and shaking before the draft began, but GM Rick Spielman and the Vikings never took their eye off the prize. And that prize is a brand-new, battle-tested and physically imposing left tackle from USC – Matt Kalil.
After flip-flopping spots with the Cleveland Browns – moving from #3 overall to #4 overall – and acquiring three additional picks in the process, the Vikings selected the player many believed they would all along in Kalil. In the entire build-up to the draft, the Vikings were in a great position at #3 overall, and they took advantage of that great position by turning it into additional picks while still nabbing the player they coveted all along.
Measuring in at 6-6, 308 pounds, Kalil will step in and start at LT for the Vikings to provide pass protection for young QB Christian Ponder and road-grading run blocking for the team’s talented Adrian Peterson-Toby Gerhart RB duo. He’ll also allow the Vikings to consider shifting last year’s starting LT – Charlie Johnson – to an OG position where he could compete for a starting job and ultimately increase the team’ depth all along the offensive line.
Kalil started at LT for USC beginning in 2010, when he started all 13 games, and then started all 12 games in 2011 as well. His older brother, Ryan, also played at USC and is now a Pro Bowl center for the Carolina Panthers. Matt was a standout performer at the Combine in February, running the 40-yard dash in 4.99 seconds and impressing in the agility drills with times of 4.65 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle and 7.33 seconds in the 3-cone drill, which ranked among the best of all offensive linemen.
The Vikings acquired more than just a potential cornerstone LT in the 1st round on Thursday evening. They also netted 4th-round (#118 overall), 5th-round (139 overall) and 7th-round (#211 overall) choices from Cleveland in exchange for moving back one spot, giving them 14 total selections in the draft. Furthermore, in acquiring those extra selections, they gain ammunition to make a potential move up in the draft at a later time should they choose to pursue that route.
Tags: Matt Kalil, Rick Spielman
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