Vikings deal, then grab Kalil

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 27, 2012 - 12:49 AM

Vikings get coveted USC tackle, use extra picks to nab Notre Dame safety.

Perhaps one day, way up the road, Rick Spielman will reveal the secrets of his first draft as Vikings general manager.

Maybe one day in the distant future, we'll all learn more about the poker game he played from January through mid-April, hiding his hand and never letting down his guard.

At some point, conceivably, details might surface to explain how Spielman strategically attacked the first round of his first full draft as GM with such purpose and skill.

Yet all that really mattered when Thursday night ended was that the Vikings dived headfirst into the first round of the 2012 NFL draft, swung two impressive trades and emerged not only with two prospects they badly wanted -- Southern Cal left tackle Matt Kalil and Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith -- but also acquired additional picks to help them attack the weekend.

No wonder Spielman seemed to be glowing when he stepped to a lectern in the Winter Park fieldhouse late in the night. Without question, the five previous hours had gone as well as he ever envisioned.

Suddenly, big holes on the offensive line and in the back of the secondary had valuable reinforcements. And securing the Kalil-Smith combination was one the Vikings had talked about in detail as they finalized their draft board.

"You can say that was a fair vision," Spielman said.

Kalil's arrival, it's figured, will accelerate the growth of last year's top pick, quarterback Christian Ponder.

Smith is expected to bring his instincts, versatility and leadership skills to a secondary looking to suppress the nightmares of a historically bad 2011.

For Spielman, all the calling, negotiating and maneuvering Thursday provided exactly the kind of joyride he longed to be in the driver's seat for, gaining that opportunity with his January promotion.

His first draft move was a something-for-nothing trade with Cleveland. The Vikings scared the Browns into a draft night do-si-do, fleecing them of fourth-round, fifth-round and seventh-round picks as the teams swapped places at the top of Round 1. Cleveland took running back Trent Richardson at No. 3.

Yet at no point were the Vikings in danger of losing Kalil, whom they grabbed with the next pick.

Coach Leslie Frazier's first reaction to that deal?

"I was like, 'Wow!'" Frazier said. "That's pretty good. I think Rick did a great job of setting the table leading up to the draft, just making people aware that we were willing to move and that we had three different guys we were talking about and discussing. So it worked out like a charm for us."

To get Smith, the Vikings relinquished their Round 2 pick (35th overall) and the highest of the four fourth-rounders (No. 98) they had stockpiled.

It was a steadfast move, not one of desperation.

As far as the idea that the Vikings were torn with how to use their top pick -- hinting all the way up until Thursday that they would consider Kalil, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon -- much of that might have been strategic pre-draft subterfuge.

In the big picture, Kalil proved too good to pass up, especially as the Vikings do everything in their power to foster Ponder's growth.

"We saw [Kalil] as a guy who could be a Pro Bowler for a long time," Frazier said. "That was obvious from our standpoint. Along with what we're trying to do with our quarterback. We wanted to make sure we do the things that are necessary to ensure that he has success. This gives us a chance to take that step in that direction."

Spielman raved about Kalil's 34.5-inch arms, his overall athleticism and his elite footwork. The USC star's positive energy was also a selling point.

"The one thing that he does have is a passion for what he's doing," Spielman said. "He fit that bill for us."

By 8 p.m., the first night of the draft was already an undeniable success. But with a feeling that safety depth in this draft was lacking, Spielman took no chances and charged into the 29th slot of the first round. Once there the Vikings landed Smith, whom they had grown fond of while coaching him at the Senior Bowl in January.

"We got to know each other, and at the end of the day, I think they think I'm a good fit for them," Smith said. "And I 100 percent agree with them."

That 100 percent figure can be a risky one to throw around on draft weekend.

But as far as wish lists go, the Vikings had Night 1 of the draft unfold 100 percent to their liking and according to their vision.

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Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL(OT)
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
FIU 69 FINAL
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
ULM 50 FINAL
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
USC 75 FINAL
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
Georgia 65
Appalachian St 59 FINAL
Alabama 60
North Dakota St 52 FINAL
Kent State 53
San Jose St 53 FINAL
Washington St 82
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 78
Sacramento St 47 FINAL
Seattle 66
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
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Northern Ill
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Western Ky
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Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
IUPUI 62
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
NC A&T 43 FINAL
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
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Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
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Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
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Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
NJIT 50 FINAL
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
UNLV 71 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 74
UCLA 50 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 55 FINAL
Old Dominion 61
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2014 preseason     
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