The NFL Draft is only 16 days away and NFL fans are continuing to brush up on the potential prospects that might be available for selection when their team is on the clock.
We will be ramping up our coverage until the draft begins on April 26th. One regular feature will posts like this one, in which we mock the top 10 selections based on my insight and your votes.
We had a huge response to the Browns post we did over the weekend, analyzing the likelihood that they would pick Trent Richardson, Morris Claiborne, Justin Blackmon, or Ryan Tanneheill. Click here to see who I settled on and who is currently leading the voting.
It will be interesting to see how we fare in comparison to the NFL GMs come draft day.
Minnesota Vikings Mock Selection At #3
In all my excitement last week, I skipped right over the Vikings pick at #3 and just mocked them with who I believe to be the favorite: LT Matt Kalil. Looking back, I realize that in order to correctly do this*, it should be put to vote in addition to providing a little information on some of the other potential draftees.
With that said, I apologize to Vikings Nation…so here we go!
*Although hastily mocking up the Vikings may have been a poor decision, I don’t think anyone would disagree that Luck and RGIII will be picks one and two, so we will leave them put.
Minnesota Vikings Pre-Draft Mindset
The Vikings have weaknesses everywhere except running back and defensive line. We will leave the QB position alone for a while until we have a book on 2nd-year QB Christian Ponder whom the Vikes took with last year’s 12th overall pick.
Although there has been trade speculation and interest in dealing from Vikings GM Rick Spielman, inaccurately predicting a trade can ruin an entire mock draft. Acknowledging that trades are more difficult to predict than players, we leave that option off the table and just look at the players available at #3.
Given the fact the Vikings are picking so high and considering there are only certain players worthy of a #3 selection that might also fit well with the Vikings, we will also leave off guys like Tannehill and Richardson.
There are three players the Vikings should be considering here:
The Vikings spent the 12th overall pick in the 2011 Draft to acquire QB Christian Ponder. Now they need to secure a franchise left tackle to protect his blind side for the next decade.
The Vikings had the 28th-ranked passing offense in the league last year while also surrendering 49 sacks (5th most in the NFL). The Vikings will need to look at giving Ponder more time to throw and improving their protection rankings from last season if they hope to compete in the potent NFC North.
By selecting USC tackle Matt Kalil, the Vikings would be protecting last season’s investment with a premium left tackle that projects into a blue-chipper. He could be the cornerstone for the offensive line for years to come.
Although selecting a lineman isn’t a sexy pick, it is perhaps the smartest and safest choice the Vikings could make at #3. At 6’7, 300 lbs, Matt Kalil would provide instant relief to the Vikings pass protection woes in addition to clearing more space for Adrian Peterson while the Vikings try to rebuild their offense.
For a defense that faces Aaron Rodgers, Gregg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson twice a year, it is no surprise that this unit finished with the #26 pass defense in the NFL last season.
As if that’s not enough to defend, there is a new duo in Chicago they must also prepare to defend against: Jay Cutler + Brandon Marshall. The Vikings will need all the help they can get in a secondary that only intercepted 8 balls last season.
LSU’s Morris Claiborne, winner of the Jim Thorpe award given to the nation’s best defensive back, would help to slow down some of the balls that seem to be thrown at will against this defense.
Minnesota finished 31st in the NFL last season in points allowed. The defense cannot yield that type of performance again this season if they hope to compete. By selecting an elite, versatile corner such as Claiborne, the Vikings would be taking a step closer towards slowing down opponent passing games and reducing scoring opportunities.
Quick, other than Adrian Peterson name the Vikings best skill-position player.
If you said Percy Harvin you are correct.
The Vikings desperately need someone opposite of Harvin, who seems to have injury concerns. With Peterson coming off an ACL injury last season, and Harvin being the only other threat, it becomes obvious that the Vikings need to add more weapons to elevate and promote the development of 2nd year QB Christian Ponder.
Oklahoma St WR Justin Blackmon is arguably the best offensive weapon in this draft.
It is too easy for teams to continue to key on Adrian Peterson just because there is no element of threat in the passing game. Competing in a division in which every team is flinging the ball around with ease, the Vikings need to quickly follow suit.
Adding a talent like Blackmon would provide them with a true #1 target for Ponder and help to open up the gameplan on offense. But #3 may be a bit too early for a wide-out.
Minnesota Vikings #3 Pick Prediction
The Vikings are in a very tough division and need to be precise with this pick to begin their climb back into relevance.
Who do you think Minnesota should take with the #3 pick:
Which of these three players would be the best choice for the Vikings at #3?
- OT Matt Kalil (77%, 276 Votes)
- CB Morris Claiborne (12%, 43 Votes)
- WR Justin Blackmon (11%, 41 Votes)
Total Voters: 360
My Pick: Matt Kalil
See the rest of the posts in this series:
Mocking The NFL Draft Top 10:
- #3 Minnesota Vikings
- #4 Cleveland Browns
- #5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (coming soon)
- #6 St. Louis Rams (coming soon)
- #7 Jacksonville Jaguars (coming soon)
- #8 Miami Dolphins (coming soon)
- #9 Carolina Panthers (coming soon)
- #10 Buffalo Bills (coming soon)