An early look at next year's draft, one in which the Vikings will likely be picking in the top 10, virtually guarantees them the shot at another blue-chip prospect to add to an up and coming mix. Their priorities at this point might be for a defensive lineman or a cornerback, but an offensive player might end up being the best player on the board.
As it always does, which underclassmen come out will also greatly affect the talent pool at the top of the first round.
Two quarterbacks will go very, very high — Marshall's Byron Leftwich and USC's Carson Palmer.
There are at least two Randy Moss-type receivers in underclassmen Charles Rogers (Michigan State) and Roy Williams (Texas) who could be in the pool. Arizona State pass rusher Terrell Suggs is another underclassman who could be a top-10 pick.
Penn State defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy is a top-10 prospect. Utah offensive tackle Jordan Gross, a teammate of current Viking Ed Ta'amu, is also a top-10 prospect. At cornerback, Terrence Newman (Kansas State) and Andre Woolfolk (Oklahoma) are the frontrunners at this point, but neither may be worthy of going in the top five.
Much will and can change before draft day, but there are some names to keep an eye on during bowl games this holiday season.
The bottom line is the Vikings will be picking from a pool of players on par with the success they have seen in recent drafts — which netted Bryant McKinnie, Michael Bennett, Chris Hovan, Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss in the first round the last five years — when they make their top pick next spring.
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