Narrowing The Draft

The Vikings are picking much later in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft than they have in the Mike Tice era, but they will still have their choice of a number of impact players.

The NFL draft is one month from today and the Vikings brass has already begun the process of hunkering down, making their list of players and checking it twice. But, unlike the last couple of years, this season is different. In 2002 and 2003, the Vikings had the seventh pick in the draft, meaning there were only going to be a half-dozen players off the board when they went on the clock. This time there are three times that many...or are there?

VU has been able to eliminate at least a dozen players who are almost certain to be gone before the Vikings hit the clock (barring a trade). On offense, those include QBs Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, WRs Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Williams and Roy Williams, TE Kellen Winslow and OTs Robert Gallery and Shawn Andrews. On defense, they include DE Kenechi Udeze, DTs Vince Wilfork and Tommie Harris, CBs DeAngelo Hall and Dunta Robinson and safety Sean Taylor.

From this short list, there are 14 players who will be off the board -- leaving just five picks from the Vikings. So, who is left? Plenty.

On offense, there is lineman Vernon Carey and wide receivers Reggie Williams, Michael Clayton and Lee Evans. On defense, there is DT Randy Starks, DE Will Smith, LB D.J. Williams, Jonathon Vilma and Karlos Dansby and CBs Chris Gamble and Will Poole. Any of these players would be a nice addition to the Vikings.

As we near the draft, more and more rumbling has begun that the Vikings will have to move up if they want to snag a pass-rushing DE in Udeze or Smith. Will they do it? They tried to move down to still get Kevin Williams last year, so the team is obviously willing to slide up and down the ladder to get what they want. Regardless of what plan of attack they take, however, the one guarantee is that there will be plenty of talent available when the Vikings make their selection -- and hopefully don't give the talking heads at ESPN another reason to laugh at them on draft day.

Viking Update Top Stories