The NFL Combine is in the books, and with Pro Days going on, the Mock Drafts are flying fast and furious. The folks from ESPN are no different, as both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have released their latest mock drafts.
(Yes, those are both ESPN In$ider links, but in both cases the Vikings' pick is part of the "preview" you get of the story above the log-in part, so you can still see this stuff.)
Both Kiper and McShay have the same consensus top three picks. . .Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck to the Indianapolis Colts, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III to (insert whichever team ends up trading up with the St. Louis Rams here), and the Vikings taking USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil with the third overall pick. Here's what Kiper has to say about the pick first:
This is one I'm going to stick with. I've liked the pick since the first mock, and I don't see a reason to change. Minnesota needs an upgrade at left tackle, and Kalil is the rare one who could step into that position right away at the NFL level. There's a lot of talk about which quarterback will go where right now, but this pick is about keeping Christian Ponder upright for the Vikings. They won't know what they have unless they can block for him. And it's obvious this will help the running game, too.
And, now, McShay's take:
The Vikings just missed out on being able to cash in with the second overall pick, but with Baylor QB Robert Griffin III likely to be the pick there Minnesota is in a position to finally begin shoring up its offensive line with an elite prospect. Kalil is one of the top left tackles I have ever evaluated coming out of college, with a skill set equal to Joe Thomas and a mean streak to go with it.
As anyone that reads the site knows by now, I'm totally in agreement with that selection. Kalil is, pretty clearly, the best non-quarterback in this year's draft class, and the kind of guy the Vikings can build around for a long time. If Luck and Griffin III do go 1-2, the Vikings would be foolish to pass on a talent like Kalil.