In the team-by-team draft needs, we suggested that the win-now Vikings may try to move back into the first round to beef up the cornerback position. They did it, but they emerged with a safety.
And the decision to trade up resulted in large part from the access the Minnesota coaching staff had to Harrison Smith at the Senior Bowl.
“When our coaches coached the Senior Bowl, they fell in love with Harrison Smith,” G.M. Rick Spielman tells Peter King of SI.com. “At safety, the depth after him got really thin. So we felt that was a guy we really wanted to get where we got him. That’s the point with what we did — you’ve got to look at the depth at each position. Where we picked, we liked Morris Claiborne. We liked Justin Blackmon. But with Kalil, my point was, you’ve got to look at the depth and make your choice not only for that position but for what you think will be there at the other positions you need. And that’s what it came down to for us.”
And so the Vikings went with Matt Kalil at No. 3 because of the gap between him and the rest of the left tackle class, and then they jumped the line to get Smith at No. 29 because of the gap between him and the rest of the safety class.
Whether any of that means the Vikings will be anything other than the worst team in one of the toughest divisions in football remains to be seen.