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Minnesota Vikings 2012 Draft Review
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
1 - Matt Kalil, OT, Southern California (6-7, 306);
1 - Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame (6-2, 213);
3 - Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida (5-10, 199);
4 - Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas (5-10, 196);
4 - Rhett Ellison, TE, Southern California (6-5, 251);
4 - Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas (6-3, 219);
5 - Robert Blanton, DB, Notre Dame (6-1, 208);
6 - Blair Walsh, K, Georgia (5-9, 187);
7 - Audie Cole, OLB, North Carolina State (6-4, 246);
7 - Trevor Guyton, DT, California (6-3, 285)

Top Pick Analysis: General manager Rick Spielman was extensively active on the first day, moving down one spot from No. 3 to No. 4 and acquiring later picks used on Wright and Blanton and also trading up into the tail end of the first round to land Smith. The Vikings still got their man after swapping positions with Cleveland in the top five, as Kalil is a nimble and flexible tackle with top-notch pass-protection skills who will be immediately installed as second- year quarterback Christian Ponder's primary bodyguard on the left side. Smith fills a major need as well at one of the safety posts, with the heady former college linebacker owning the speed to cover tight ends down the seam and the size to be an asset in run support. Minnesota's retooling in the secondary continued with the selection of Robinson, a solid tackler who was clocked in a scorching 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine but is a bit undersized and underdeveloped.

Best Value Pick: Players with Robinson's speed are often hard to find in the third round, and the junior entry's ball skills and improving awareness make him a promising prospect with a potential starter's profile.

Questionable Calls: Spielman did manage to plug most of Minnesota's roster holes with young talent, but may have been able to extract a little more than the fourth, fifth and seventh-round picks he received from the panicky Browns to trade up. Though Walsh has a huge leg and incumbent kicker Ryan Longwell slipped greatly in 2011, the Georgia product is coming off an extremely erratic senior season.

Summary: Spielman made the right call by tabbing Kalil over LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with Minnesota's first pick, and reeling in a couple of future draft choices in exchange for moving down twice on the third day were pretty shrewd moves as well. The first three selections all look like either immediate or future starters, while players like Wright and Ellison could end up being useful role players. Overall, a job well done.

FINAL GRADE: B+

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