|Kalil might not be a lock at No. 3 after all, as the Vikes are willing to deal. (Getty Images)|
With the Colts and Redskins already locked in on their guys for the 2012 NFL Draft, it's up to the Vikings to provide some spice with the No. 3 pick. Most people project them taking left tackle Matt Kalil, but they are open to trading the pick.
That's according to Vikes GM Rick Spielman, who told Pro Football Weekly that he's open to moving out of the third spot as late as when the the third pick comes around.
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"There are times we have been in (the war room) and we’ve done deals on the clock,” Spielman said. “It’s an unknown, but you’re prepared for both ways. We’ll be ready and we’ll have a good idea of what we think the value of that third pick is."
The key for Spielman and the Vikings will be developing a list of guys he's willing to take with the team's first pick. It could include two guys, it could include five guys, and it could include 25 guys. This is a group of what Spielman calls "blue-chip type of players" and if he can trade down and still get one of them, then it's a wise move to do so, because he'll pick up additional draft picks.
"If we want to get out of that pick, we’ll [determine] what it will take to get out of that pick," Spielman said. “Plus you have to be careful of how far you would want to go back (down in the draft). You have to know what you’re looking at, depending on how far you go back. Are you getting yourself out of the (range of) the supposedly blue-chip type of players?"
This was the premise in my most recent mock draft, where I had the Dolphins hop the Browns to grab Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill in a trade with the Vikings.
Minnesota fell all the way to eighth, but it didn't put them out of range to grab an elite player. In fact, they landed the guy they wanted in the first place, USC tackle Matt Kalil. Some might look at that skeptically, but it stands to reason that if the Vikes jump out of that spot, five of the first picks could be offensive skill-position players.
That assumes Justin Blackmon to the Browns and Trent Richardson to the Buccaneers, and it means that Minnesota simply needs to be happy with getting either of Kalil, Morris Claiborne or "Pass-Rusher X" (Melvin Ingram?).
If Minnesota's blue-chip list only includes Blackmon, Claiborne and Kalil, then it's probably not worth the risk to fall that far. And Spielman may end up spending most of his time on the clock simply picking between those three players.