Vikings trade down, draft left tackle Matt Kalil

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.-- The Minnesota Vikings inched down one spot, and then they jumped up and joined in again before the first round was finished. When the night was done, they could not have felt better about their haul.

"Wow. This is pretty good," a smiling head coach Leslie Frazier said.

The Vikings took massive left tackle Matt Kalil from USC on Thursday to solidify their offensive line and provide their young quarterback some protection.

"I really couldn't picture myself any other place," Kalil said, describing the relief of seeing a Minnesota area code on his phone.

"When I left USC, I think I was ready to take on this role," Kalil said.

The Vikings dealt their third overall pick to the Browns for the fourth overall selection plus Cleveland's picks in the fourth (118th overall), fifth (139th) and seventh (211th) rounds. The Browns wanted Alabama running back Trent Richardson, so the Vikings knew they could still get Kalil.

Concerned about the lack of quality safeties in this year's crop, the Vikings found another trade partner in Baltimore, acquiring the 29th overall selection and sending their second-round (35th overall) and fourth-round (98th) picks to the Ravens.

"This is what makes the draft so fun," general manager Rick Spielman said.

After their second trade on the opening day of the NFL draft, the Vikings selected Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith to continue the resuscitation of their depleted secondary.

Smith will fill a glaring need at an important position and almost certainly be an instant starter. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Smith was a four-year starter for the Fighting Irish, who spent about one-third of his college career as an outside linebacker.

"He's played on a big stage and made terrific plays against top competition," Spielman said.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.