A whiff of smoke is drifting upward into the Minnesota skies and starting to circulate in the 2012 NFL Draft discussions. No, it is not an insurance money fire to get rid of the Metrodome. The Vikings are putting out some misdirection on their plans for the third pick in the draft, and it could have very favorable implications for the St. Louis Rams.
The Vikings' brass is hinting that Morris Claiborne may be their pick rather than USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil. Mock drafters everywhere are hitting their heads against their desk.
The LSU cornerback certainly has his top-five bona fides; however, in terms of best talent available, Matt Kalil is a nearly universal pick after the two quarterbacks.
Minnesota could certainly use Claiborne in their woeful secondary. They could also use Kalil to protect Christian Ponder, their first-round from 2011.
If the Vikings were to go with Claiborne, it makes it more likely that Kalil could fall to the Rams, though the two teams picking in front of St. Louis would let him fall to the sixth pick.
All the Vikings are trying to do is drum up interest in their pick, enticing teams to trade up for either Kalil or Claiborne. This is what teams do this time of year, and an owner-friendly rookie salary structure removes the biggest hurdle in trading up in the draft.
We'll see what actually happens. There could be plenty of trading, but there also has to be the demand for trading, which is what the Vikings are trying to induce. This promises to be one of the more interesting drafts in a long, long time.