EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- It's not often when an NFL coach introduces a draft pick "as our starter" for "many, many years to come." Usually you at least see a charade of making the rookie "win" the job.
But the Minnesota Vikings have too many immediate plans for Matt Kalil, and so that's how coach Leslie Frazier described Kalil on Friday, in the process giving us a clear picture of how the Vikings plan to stack their rebuilt offensive line in 2012.
As suspected, Frazier said Kalil's arrival will push 2011 left tackle Charlie Johnson to left guard. (In fact, offensive line coach Jeff Davidson told reporters he discussed that likelihood with Johnson early last season.) Frazier said there will be a "battle" between veteran newcomer Geoff Schwartz, 2011 draft pick Brandon Fusco at right guard and possibly others.
That leaves center John Sullivan and right tackle Phil Loadholt, who is entering the final year of his contract, as the only holdovers from the group expected to start for the Vikings when training camp opened in 2011.
The key, of course, was getting Kalil in place to begin the process.
"It gives us more flexibility on the offensive line now," Frazier said, "because once you solidify that spot, it's a little bit easier to try and move other people around."