Vikings should take Kalil at No. 3

USC left tackle Matt Kalil would be an optimal fit for the Minnesota Vikings. Brian Spurlock/US Presswire

INDIANAPOLIS -- To say the 2011 season didn't go exactly as planned for the Minnesota Vikings would be a vast understatement. A more accurate assessment would be that it continued the sharp downward spiral the franchise has been in since Brett Favre threw an untimely interception in the 2009 NFC Championship Game.

After opening the season blowing double-digit halftime leads in three straight games, Minnesota ended up 3-13, tied for the worst record in the franchise's 51-year history. Add in the fact that the Vikings' best player, Adrian Peterson, tore his ACL and MCL in Week 16 against Washington, the defense surrendered more than 28 points a game, Donovan McNabb and first-round quarterback Christian Ponder both struggled and … well, you get the picture.

If there is any silver lining to such an awful season, it's that Minnesota holds the extremely valuable No. 3 pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL draft.

So, to the (multi)million-dollar question: Who should they take?

While there are multiple permutations of how the top three picks will go, it seems more likely than not that two things will happen:

1. The Indianapolis Colts will draft Andrew Luck No. 1.

2. The St. Louis Rams will trade down from No. 2 with a team that wants to take Robert Griffin III.

If those two things occur, the Vikings should stand pat at No. 3 and take USC left tackle Matt Kalil -- barring a Julio Jones-esque deal for a team that wants Kalil.