Eden Prairie, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota VIkings moved down in the draft and still found their man.
After trading their third overall pick to the Browns for the fourth overall selection, the Vikings took USC left tackle Matt Kalil on Thursday night.
With quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III already spoken for, the Vikings held the key to this draft and Cleveland came after it. In addition to swapping spots in the first round the Browns sent picks in the fourth (118th overall), fifth (139th) and seventh (211th) rounds to give the Vikings a whopping total of 13 selections.
The 6-foot-7, 306-pound Kalil left college after his junior year, giving the Vikings an obvious upgrade for their offensive line to better protect young quarterback Christian Ponder’s blind side.
The Minnesota Vikings made another draft-day trade, moving up for a second first-round selection to take Notre Dame free safety Harrison Smith.
They made the deal with Baltimore to get Smith with the 29th spot on Thursday, giving the Ravens their second round (35th overall) and fourth-round (98th overall) picks.
Like left tackle Matt Kalil, their first selection of the night, Smith will fill a glaring need at an important position. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound Smith was a four-year starter for the Fighting Irish who spent about one-third of his college career as an outside linebacker. All seven of his interceptions for Notre Dame came during his junior season.
The only other safeties currently on Minnesota’s roster are returning starter Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond, Eric Frampton and Andrew Sendejo.
The Minnesota Vikings have signed Jerome Simpson, the former Cincinnati wide receiver recently convicted on a felony drug charge.
The contract was completed Thursday, hours before the Vikings began the NFL draft.
Simpson was sentenced earlier this month to 15 days in jail, three years of probation and 200 hours of community service plus a $7,500 fine and court costs. He previously pleaded guilty to a prohibited act relating to controlled substances. Authorities said they tracked a shipment of 2 1/2 pounds of marijuana to his Kentucky home in September and that they found another pound of the drug inside the house.
Simpson had a breakout 2011 season for the Bengals. The highlight was his head-over-heels flip into the end zone for a touchdown during a December game.