Vikings could be looking for their next Ron Yary

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The Vikings earned the third overall pick in the draft, thanks to a 3-13 record.  They could be heading down the same path they did 44 years ago, when another three-win season (3-8-3, to be precise) gave the Vikings the first pick in the 1968 NFL draft.

They took left tackle Ron Yary from USC.  A seven-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro (and a Hall of Famer), Yary played the tackle position for the Vikings for 14 seasons.

It’s less the connection to Yary, who as several of you pointed out played right tackle for the Vikings, and more the reality of the left tackle position that has the Vikings once again looking seriously at another USC left tackle, Matt Kalil.  “Usually, there are no left tackles in free agency,” Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said this week, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “If they’re that good, they are usually not [available] out there.”

He’s right.  And with left tackles having a lower bust rate than most other positions, it makes sense when holding a high pick to seriously consider the best of the left tackles that the NCAA has produced for a given year.

Especially if you don’t have a good left tackle.  Which usually is one of the reasons why a team is drafting so high in the first place.

Many believe that the Colts will select quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick, that the Rams will trade the second selection to a team that will pick quarterback Robert Griffin III, and that the Vikings then will choose between Kalil and Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon.  But while the performance in 2011 of receivers A.J. Green and Julio Jones could make a team more inclined to use a top-five pick on Blackmon, the safer course will be to take Kalil and look elsewhere for help at receiver.

The left tackle position is sufficiently important that the Vikings exhibited extreme patience with Bryant McKinnie, giving up on him only after he showed up for camp in 2011 grossly overweight and out of shape.  (The Ravens are glad that he did.)  Now, the Vikings have a chance to take care of the left tackle position for the next decade.

Receivers come and go.  When it comes to having a team that is competitive on an year-in and year-out basis, a cornerstone left tackle is almost as important as a quarterback.  So expect the Vikings to take Kalil.

Unless, of course, the USC grad who coaches the Rams decides that he can’t pass on Kalil.

39 responses to “Vikings could be looking for their next Ron Yary

  1. If Kalil is there, he’s the pick. No question. If not, trade down for a team that wants RGIII and get Reiff or Martin for their value.

  2. Kalil is the pick to help ponder and peterson, draft WR in the second round. look at the last 10 years (minus last yr cause rookies cant be labeled bust or HOF yet) top 10 reciever picks
    01- David Terrell (bust) Koren Robinson (1 pro-bowl)
    02- Stallworth (1st taken, 12th overall, Bust)
    03- Charles Rodgers (bust) Andre Johnson (HOF)
    04- Fitz (HOF) Roy williams (1 pro-bowl) Reggie Williams (Bust)
    05- Braylon (1 pro-bowl) Troy Williamson (bust) Mike Williams (Bust)
    06- Santonio (25th overall only WR to go in 1st round, other than that super bowl catch he has been a bust)
    07- Calvin (HOF) Tedd Ginn (bust)
    08- No 1st round WR
    09- DHB (showed some flashed last yr so not a complete bust yet) crabtree (biggest game of his life had 1 catch against the giants in NFC championship game, bust)
    10- no top 20 reciever

    thats 10 bust 3 1-time probowlers and 3 HOF and 2 of those 3. whoever thinks blackmon is a better bet than any of these previous receivers is just living in the moment of watching his highlight tape ALL these guys had the best highlight tape ever the years they came out and only 3 of them lived up to what a top 10 pick is supposed to be, and that is franchise changing. go with the LT at worst he’s robert gallery and he’s playing guard for the next 10 years on your team.

  3. It shouldn’t even be a question IF he’s available. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team jumps in front of MN to select Kalil!

    There are quite a few higher end WRs available (potentially) via free agency, and a couple of high end CBs available via free agency and/or trade.

    I really, REALLY hope this happens. I also really hope that the Vikings draft a bunch of OLs, DBs and WRs in the draft.

  4. @fbjule. Andre Johnson a hall of famer??? based on what? I swear some of these newer football fans really don’t know a thing about the game. Chris Carter and Andre Reed are not hall of famers. Andre Johnson couldn’t carry either one’s jock strap

  5. Author! Author! The best blog of yours I have read. And, no one challenged you on comment about the value of LT being almost as important as QB. And, that is true. The Rices, Mosses, Owenses and Johnsons come along once in a blue moon. Otherwise, just build a Patriot-like offensive line and their receivers sometimes look like world beaters, being thrown to by a very good (and no more than that) QB.

  6. Kalil in the draft, take your pick of Free Angent superstar wr’s, and bam, you’ve got both things taken care of.

  7. If RG3 is there I have a hard time as a Vikes fan not putting him in the mix. Ponder was good at times and deserves a full season. But he was dissapointing with his decisions in the few key moments they had in games. That being said I like Blackmon as the pick. You cant rely on Mike Jenkins as your #1. Percy is a stud but he isnt what u want as a 1. Blackmon would make D’s play alot different than they do now. Ponder needs someone that can get the constant pressure away from the line to succeed. Blackmon isnt going to turn around the vikes like Moss did but if he’s like Boldin/Nicks/Owens im all in at 3 with him. The Vikes offense is the only thing that can give them at shot at this point. They have to score to win D is crap.

  8. “Receivers come and go. When it comes to having a team that is competitive on an year-in and year-out basis, a cornerstone left tackle is almost as important as a quarterback.”

    Almost all the top teams have great QBs but many top teams don’t even have particularly good LTs (Pitt, Balt, GB, NYG, Indy in 2010, Philly in most of their good years). All those teams had very good QBs none had a top 10 LT.

    The top teams that do have a good LT didn’t get them high in the draft as a rule (NO – Bushrod 4th round, NE – Matt Light 2nd round).

    As well, teams have made many huge mistakes taking LTs high in the draft (Buff – M. Williams, Oak – Gallery, Arz – Levi Brown – I could go on).

    Teams that land star QBs with a top pick almost invariably become top teams. Teams that land star LTs often don’t manage much success (Mia – Long, Clev – Joe Thomas).

    LT is the most overrated position in football.

    The Vikings made a big mistake reaching for Ponder last year. Now they are going to compound that error by not trading up to get RG3. Trading away Ponder for say a 2nd rounder and using that pick to chase the LT position is far more likely to lead to good results.

    That’s what you get when get a nimrod like Spielman who rates IQ as the most important stat for a QB. That’s what he loves about Ponder. Anyone who has ever listened to Dan Marino (13 on the Wonderlic), Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Montana, or many other greats – knows that many top QBs aren’t exactly mensa material.

  9. We are one month away from the most exciting part of the Vikings 2012 season. Great job on earning the 3rd pick and I am confident you can do even better next year and earn the 2nd or even 1st. #armpitofthenfcnorth #lionsfansarelaughingatyou

  10. LTs drafted top 5 since 2000:

    2000 – 3rd – C. Samuels Wash
    2001 – 2nd – L. Davis – Arz
    2002 – 4th – M. Williams – Buff
    2004 – 1st – R. Gallery – Oak
    2006 – 4th – D. Ferguson – NYJ
    2007 – 3rd – J. Thomas – Clev
    2007 – 5th – L. Brown – Arz
    2008 – 8th – J. Long – Mia
    2009 – 2nd – J. Smith – St L
    2010 – 4th – T. Williams – Wash

    What jumps out at me about this list is that drafting a bust is a fairly likely scenario. Also, look how most of those teams still suck.

    Now look at top 5 QB picks since 2000

    2001 – 1st – M. Vick – Atl
    2002 – 1st – D. Carr – Hous
    2002 – 3rd – J. Harrington – Det
    2003 – 1st – C. Palmer – Cinn
    2004 – 1st – E. Manning – NYG
    2004 – 4th – P. Rivers – SD
    2005 – 1st – A. Smith – SF
    2006 – 3rd – V Young – Tenn
    2007 – 1st – J. Russell – Oak
    2008 – 3rd – M. Ryan – Atl
    2009 – 1st – M. Stafford – Det
    2009 – 5th – M Sanchez – NYJ
    2010 – 1st – S. Bradford – St L
    2011 – 1st – C. Newton – Car

    This lists has a bunch of busts as well, but notice some of the QBs completely turned bad teams into playoff teams (Vick, Palmer, Manning, Rivers, Young, Ryan, Stafford, Sanchez)

    I’m not saying that each of those QBs deserves all the credit for turning a bottom dweller into a playoff team – but I think it’s pretty clear that if you have a shot a franchise QB you take it.

  11. knucklehead93 says:
    Feb 18, 2012 6:52 PM
    Low bust rate…except for the biggest one of all time. Courtesy of Green Bay.


    I’ll take the misfortunate pick of Mandarich over the historical hornswoggling the dummies in MN suffered in the Hershel Walker trade. Dimwitted idiots!

  12. I agree with the 3 or 4 folks posting here that if you have a chance at RG3 you take him. WTF is anyone seeing in Ponder that you would value him so much. I don’t get it. I would trade or dump him in 2 seconds as to me Webb is the better quarterback yet seems he is being screwed by the Vikes and not getting a fair shake. The posts above showing the value of a real Franchise quarterback are correct. Those Vikes fans that want to waste 3 more years of the Ponder experiment and lose AP’s best years should really wake up!

  13. I understand Khalil, I even understand Blackmon….but what about some defense? The secondary was TERRIBLE last season. I’m not a draft or football expert, but in my opinion Claiborne should be their first round pick. Two needs get met, youth at corner & punt returner. Second pick grab the best available OT. There will be plenty of wr’s on the board in the 3rd & 4th rounds. If they do not address the defense/secondary early & often in this draft they will be picking in the top 3-5 again in the next draft.

  14. gb4mn0 says:
    Feb 18, 2012 10:45 PM
    knucklehead93 says:
    Feb 18, 2012 6:52 PM
    Low bust rate…except for the biggest one of all time. Courtesy of Green Bay.


    I’ll take the misfortunate pick of Mandarich over the historical hornswoggling the dummies in MN suffered in the Hershel Walker trade. Dimwitted idiots!
    … are STILL at at it huh??? Absolutely pathetic.

  15. It gets old when packer fans infest a Viking thread like the roaches they are. Your team choked after achieving the best record in the NFL this last year. Go crawl back under your rock morons.

    Thanks in advance………….

  16. gb4…. I’m a Vikes fan, and I would have to completely agree with you. The Walker trade ranks up there with the Saints/Ditka Ricky Williams deal.
    As for the Vikes 3rd pick? I hope they trade down twice before picking anyone.

  17. The comments on the Walker trade are short-sighted. Mike Lynn made that trade for one purpose; to justify getting rid of high draft picks over a three year period so he would not have to pay out high salaries for rookies. Anyone who knows anything about Lynn knows he was a cheapskate, and Jerry Jones was there to answer the call.

    As for this year’s #3 overall pick, the Vikings could do worse than Kalil, or one of the other top Tackles. If they find the right trading partner they can trade down with and stay in the top 10.

    That said, If RG3 is still on the board at #3, and they pass on him or trade out of that spot, it could end up haunting this franchise. If Ponder doesn’t pan out, and RG3 is as good as advertised, Spielman will never live that down, and will never get another GM job in the NFL.

    Ponder showed promise last year, but at this point, I’m not even sure he’s the best QB on the team. Joe Webb outplayed Ponder the last month of the season, not just with his legs, but with his arm as well.

  18. Heck, I watched many of the Vikes games last year. I think they could actually use the REAL Ron Yary as he is today.

  19. Tend to agree that Kalil is what they need. AP would do better with a decent line and Ponder/Webb could use more protection. With the FA pool being deep at CB, I think the Vikes would be wise to move Winfield to safety and sign 1 or 2 CBs in FA along with a defensive lineman. In the draft take 2 OL, a WR, and get more secondary help.

    The Vikes lost a lot of close games last year, and they have a lot of talent, but were abysmal where they lacked talent. Some very wise moves and this team is a playoff contender again.

  20. @fbjule…..You list no impact WR for 2010, but A.J. was absolutely one of the top WRs in the league last years. The stats may not show it (though he still had over 1000 yards and was top 20) because he missed 3 games in the middle of the year, but he was a difference maker and was a big reason the Bengals went from 4-12 to 9-7.

  21. Kalil, should be their # 1 pick period. The outstanding line the Patriots have had over the years allowed Brady to become the great QB that he is. Therefore it would not matter who Ponder or RG111 or Webb was throwing to without protection they would never amount to anything. A”very good” offensive line makes a good Rb better and with good pass blocking receivers will get open. Without a good line you have neither.

  22. kalil or trade down if the offer is really great. lots of holes need to be filled, take reiff and stock up with a shotgun blast mixture of quality and quantity. needs are many

  23. Unless the Rams get a terrific offer for the second pick, one that nets them a left tackle, a top wide receiver and more, Kalil is the pick. Then they can move Saffold to the right and either release Smith or move him to guard. By taking one player, they can actually fix three postions on the line. Perhaps Fisher thinks he can fix the o-line, but what was supposed to be a strength of the Rams became their biggest liability. I really don’t think the Browns will move up or that the Redskins will offer enough.

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