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Many options for Vikings, but pick at No. 3 seems most likely

Rumors have been out there about the Vikings' trading down for the past few weeks. From what I have been told, the Vikings do want out, but unless they lower their compensation request, they will stay at No. 3 and select a player. That leads us to the idea that left tackle Matt Kalil is no longer the choice and Morris Claiborne is. Both are fine players and no one will criticize their choice, but ask yourself which one helps you win their division more.

Winning the division is always paramount, and the Vikings' ultimate choice will affect their division goals. If Minnesota takes Kalil, they get a player to block Julius Peppers, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Clay Matthews. If they choose Morris Claiborne, they get a player who lines up opposite Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson and Greg Jennings. One way or the other, Minnesota has to solve both sets of problems.

In 2011 vs. Minnesota, Peppers had three sacks, Vanden Bosch two and Matthews three, which means the Vikings still can't protect their quarterback without Kalil. As for the receivers, vs. the Vikings: Johnson, 10 receptions, two touchdowns; Jennings 10 receptions, two touchdowns. Marshall averaged five receptions a game for the Dolphins, which means the Vikings still can't cover the top receivers if they take Kalil.

The answer to what they should do is probably what can they get at pick No. 35. I went to reliable sources -- an NFL offensive line coach and a secondary coach -- for the potential answer. If they take Kalil at No. 3, they should be looking at corners Janoris Jenkins, Jayron Hosley, and Trumaine Johnson as their choices. If Minnesota takes Claiborne, they should be looking at Bobbie Massie, Zebrie Sanders and Mitchell Schwartz.

I can tell you the secondary coach was much more confident about his choices in the second round than the offensive line coach was about his tackle choices. In fact, the offensive line coach didn't feel there was a tackle worthy of taking at No. 35. So what do the Vikings do if they stay at No. 3?

Supposedly, coach Leslie Frazier is leaning toward the cornerback, the staff feels the tackle is the right choice, and the curveball just might be GM Rick Spielman's interest in WR Justin Blackmon! If they could trade down, some of the options might disappear, but if they stay at No. 3, all three choices are on the board, and two factions will be frustrated after the selection.

I say take the tackle at No. 3 and rely on the depth in the draft to solve the other issues.

Pat Kirwan has been around the league since 1972, serving in a variety of roles. He was a scout for the Cardinals and Buccaneers, a coach for the Jets as well as the team's Director of Player Administration where he negotiated contracts and managed the team's salary cap. He is the author of Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look, and the host of Sirius NFL Radio's Moving the Chains.
 
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