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Updated: April 26th, 2012 7:25pm
Vikings' pick at No. 4: Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil

Vikings' pick at No. 4: Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil

by Tom Pelissero
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings have their left tackle. And they picked up some extra picks in the process.

They selected Matt Kalil with the fourth overall pick in Thursday's NFL Draft, choosing the Southern California product to protect Christian Ponder's blindside over LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon.

Kalil (6-foot-7, 306 pounds) long was the favorite for the pick because he has the length (34½-inch arms), feet and athleticism to play a core position that's tough to fill.

The pick came about 1½ hours after the Vikings traded the No. 3 pick to Cleveland, picking up fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks to move back to No. 4 so the Browns could take Alabama halfback Trent Richardson.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman made it clear the plan is for Kalil to start at left tackle and for 2011 left tackle Charlie Johnson to move to left guard. The Vikings jettisoned long-time starting left guard Steve Hutchinson after last season.

Spielman called Kalil, "an extremely talented athlete."

"He's a junior and a young kid that's only going to continue to mature and grow into his body," Spielman said. "He has the arm length you're looking for, he has all the foot quickness to be on an island out there and to be matched up against the premiere pass rushers in this league. I know it's going to take some time in development, but I think Jared Allen going against him every day is going to help school and educate and hopefully make that progress quicker."

The Vikings' next pick was scheduled for the second round (No. 35 overall) on Friday.

The numbers

• 40-yard dash: 4.99 seconds.
• Bench press: 30 reps.
• Vertical jump: 27 inches.
• 3-cone drill: 7.33 seconds.
• 20-yard shuttle: 4.65 seconds.
• Hands: 10 3/8 inches.

The tape

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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