2011 was a difficult year to be a Vikings fan. But, like any rube cheering for the local squad, hope springs eternal and the upcoming NFL Draft is just the remedy that is needed to facilitate forgetting last season. Whether it is the hope of that impact rookie being drafted or the wheeling and dealing that strengthens the draft of the future, the NFL Draft is one part lottery, one part shrewd evaluation, and all parts exciting.
This year’s NFL Draft poses an especially interesting conundrum for the Vikes’ management group. Last year, the Cleveland Browns capitalized on the Atlanta Falcons’ desire to get an impact WR, trading their Top 10 pick, which was used to draft Julio Jones, for basically all of Atlanta’s draft. This was actually one of those rare deals that seemed to work for both squads. The Falcons got the game changing wideout to complement Pro Bowler Roddy White and the Browns got the mess of draft picks needed to continue rebuilding.
Fast forward to this year’s draft, the Vikes hold the valuable Number 3 pick overall. Most analysts agree that future Hall-of-Famer Andrew Luck is going first. From there, it gets really interesting, really quickly. You see, the Number 2 pick on most boards is behemoth LT, Matt Kalil. This guy’s pedigree is more pristine than that little footstool that won this year’s Westminster dog show. His older brother is an All Pro C for the Cam-o-lina Panthers. He was a consensus All-American at USC, the perennial hotbed for impact NFL rookies.
The St. Louis Rams hold the Number 2 pick and have drafted offensive linemen in two of the last three drafts. It seems unlikely that the Rams would select another linemen as their fan base is desperate for a talented skill position player. Many think that OSU pass-Hoovering WR Justin Blackmon will go to St. Louis. That scenario would put the Vikings in a very difficult spot.
Do they draft the “sure-thing” LT that could be the cornerstone of their offensive line and hope to improve the league’s worst secondary via free agency and the later rounds of the draft? Or, do the Vikes adopt the Browns’ strategy and trade the Number 3 pick to the team that wants to ensure they can secure the talents of multi-tool QB, Robert Griffin III. RG3 is a hot commodity right now. There are multiple teams that are said to be interested in acquiring his services. If the Vikes can acquire multiple pieces and fill multiple needs, aren’t they better off moving the pick? This fan says no.
Todays game requires exceptional QB play. Exceptional offensive line play is the first step in achieving that level of QB play, unless your QB has the last name Brees, Brady, Manning, or, [unfortunately] Rodgers. The Vikings offensive line was offensive this year. Nearly every player took a step back from the year before.
As if that was not enough of a reason to draft Mount Kalil, the Vikes also happen to have a Hall of Fame RB who will be coming off knee surgery and would likely do much better with a road grader like Kalil plowing the road in front of him. With Mount Kalil in purple, it is easy to see All Day bursting into the second level with only the wreckage from Kalil behind him.
While it may be tempting to off load their pick for a wealth of future picks, the Vikings should pass. Do the right thing. Secure their line of the future and take Mount Kalil. If nothing else, we might finally get a chance to see what we have with our first round pick from last year, Christian Ponder.
After all, even though Rome was not built in a day, with Kalil acting as the muscle to the development, there is a really good chance the Purple return to prominence sooner than later.