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Tuesday (Matt Kalil and the Vikings offensive line) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings Updated: February 28, 2012 - 9:12 AM

In this excellent story on Matt Kalil our guy Dan Wiederer at the NFL Combine a few days ago, Vikings GM Rick Spielman offered a quote that we really hope is just posturing or -- at the most -- food for thought regarding USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil:

"Is the left tackle that important or is it more important to have playmakers on offense?" the Vikings GM asked. "Because when your quarterback evolves, he learns the system, he gets the ball out of his hand quicker and all of a sudden that left tackle doesn't need to be a Pro Bowl left tackle. He can be a functional left tackle. Because the quarterback evolves and he has playmakers."

We see Spielman's point; the quick-rhythm passing game, which the Vikings would like to run, doesn't require elite line play. That said, all offenses require good offensive line play. And having one great anchor is a wonderful start. With Steve Hutchinson getting older, Kalil could be that guy. Given the Vikings' draft position, he really should be that guy (even if the Vikings claim to be conflicted).

Sure, there are a ton of positions of need. Minnesota allowed the second-most points in the NFL last year, so upgrades all across that side of the ball could be in order. But given that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III seem very likely to go 1-2 -- the latter probably via a trade, which St. Louis is reportedly more than willing to make -- the stage is set for a no-nonsense draft in two months. Just take Kalil and, if things go as expected, lock down a critical position for the next decade.

We're all for innovative thinking and explosive offensive players. We're also keen on seeing an improvement on the 32nd-ranked offensive line when it came to sack rate a season ago. The line is a great place to find hidden gems and develop them. But it's also such a critical -- and oft-neglected -- area that missing on Kalil just shouldn't happen.

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