Chip Scoggins is a Star Tribune sports columnist. He previously covered the Minnesota Vikings for four years, starting in 2008. In addition, he covered college football for five years. Chip has been with the Star Tribune since January 2000. He can be followed on twitter at @chipscoggins.

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Spielman plays it perfectly

Posted by: Chip Scoggins Updated: April 26, 2012 - 9:24 PM

Rick Spielman is presiding over his first NFL Draft as Vikings general manager and the final authority on personnel decisions, and it's hard to imagine him having a better start.

Spielman played the information misdirection game perfectly leading up to Thursday's first round, which resulted in three extra draft picks and the guy the Vikings wanted all along, USC left tackle Matt Kalil.

All those rumors and speculation about their interest in LSU cornerback Mo Claiborne and Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon created the desired effect: Cleveland gave the Vikings three picks to trade spots, with the Vikings moving down to No. 4.

The Vikings made the most sensible choice in taking Kalil, who gives them a long-term answer at a critically important position.

Don't get me wrong, Claiborne is a tremendous talent, but all that speculation never made sense to me. Yes, the Vikings secondary was a mess last season and they desperately need to address that area in this draft, sooner than later. They absolutely must upgrade their talent at corner and safety.

But elite left tackles are harder to find that elite cornerbacks, and they had to make sure they surround second-year quarterback Christian Ponder with enough pieces to be successful. Kalil does that.

The scouting report on Kalil is that he's extremely athletic, has great feet and long arms.

"He's just a premier pass protector who will play for a long time," USC coach Lane Kiffin said.

Ultimately, Kalil was too talented to pass up. Yes, left tackles are not exactly a glamorous position but who cares? Kalil was a safe choice and the best choice.

The Vikings likely will shift their attention to cornerback and wide receiver now. Spielman set off enough smokescreens to keep everyone guessing the past week, but in the end, he made the right call. 

Nobody should have been surprised. It was a pretty easy decision. 

 

  

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