Vikings Rumors: Smith, Kalil, Kendricks

The Vikings are going down to the wire in announcing their decision on whether or not to pick up the fifth-year options for Harrison Smith and Matt Kalil. GM Rick Spielman will announce those moves Monday, reports ESPN’s Ben Goessling on Twitter.

Today was initially the deadline for teams to decide on whether or not to extend their 2012 first-round picks, but since it fell on a Sunday, teams now have until midnight tomorrow to make those calls. Goessling noted he doesn’t expect drama with either decision, with Smith’s fifth year in Minneapolis certainly forthcoming.

Kalil’s option, which would cost $11.096MM, won’t be as easy of a decision. A late first-rounder in 2012, Smith’s become one of the league’s better safeties, while Kalil has regressed considerably since a promising rookie campaign, bottoming out last season with a Pro Football Focus ranking (subscription required) of 81st among 84 graded tackles.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune reporter Mark Craig expects Kalil’s option to be picked up (Twitter link).

Some other rumors coming out of Minnesota on Sunday night …

  • Beyond first-round cornerback Trae Waynes, the Vikings expect multiple-position availability from their draft picks, reports Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Chief among the potential versatile draftees are second-rounder Eric Kendricks (middle and weakside linebacker), third-rounder Danielle Hunter (multiple defensive line positions) and fourth-rounder T.J. Clemmings (left and right tackle), according to Tomasson.
  • The Vikings not drafting a safety is a vote of confidence for 2014 sixth-rounder Antone Exum, reports Tomasson. Spielman noted to Tomasson he’s “excited about” Exum’s progress despite the second-year safety only playing 16 snaps last season behind Smith and Robert Blanton, who both graded out positively last season on Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics.
  • Also from Tomasson: the Vikings will slot former Alabama tackle Austin Shepherd at guard, where he played at the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-5 rookie said half of the teams he spoke to before the draft sought him at tackle, with the other half preferring to see how he can transition to guard.
  • Kendricks will be the Vikings rookie that flashes most this season, writes Matt Vensel of the Star-Tribune. Kendricks’ coverage ability stood out to draft experts, and Vensel notes the ex-UCLA backer has a good chance of starting Week 1 between Chad Greenway and Anthony BarrWaynes could have to open the season behind either Captain Munnerlyn or Terence Newman.
  • Former Vikings offensive line coach Jim Hueber was surprised Clemmings, who he coached at Pittsburgh, made it to Day 3 without finding an employer, viewing the former college defensive lineman and standout basketball player as a steal, per Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
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