1. The Year of the Quarterback – It seems clear that Matthew Stafford is going to be the top pick in the draft, but what about the other two top QBs? There continues to be a sentiment that Mark Sanchez of USC will go as early as No. 4 to Seattle and likely last no longer than No. 8, where Jacksonville sits waiting if he slides down the board. If Sanchez comes off the board by the eighth pick, then the focus will turn to Josh Freeman. After Freeman, the dropoff at QB is pronounced, making him a hot commodity. Expect him to be gone before the Vikings pick and potentially having teams jockeying for position in front of the Jets at No. 17 to secure his rights.
2. The Running of the Bulls – Last year, there was a run on offensive tackles that started early and was relentless throughout the first round. This year may see a repeat. There are three OTs likely to go in the top 10 picks – Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe and Andre Smith. But there is still the question of whether the run will continue, potentially taking Michael Oher and Eben Britton off the board before the Vikings pick at No. 22. Few analysts believed the run of 2008 would be as pronounced as it was, so don't be stunned to see teams stockpiling OTs again.
3. Ride the Slide – While offensive tackles and defensive ends were the positions of choice last year, wide receiver was virtually ignored. Because of the depth of talent, teams felt they could wait on wide receiver and find talent in the second round. The result was that no wide receivers were drafted in the first round and a record-setting 10 were taken in the second. While that isn't expected to happen again, if the rumored meeting between Brad Childress and Percy Harvin took place and the Vikings have the interest that is being discussed that they have, the team may be hoping to see another general drop in stock for the position.
4. Reaching the 'Tween Audience – There was a time not too long ago that being viewed as "a 'tweener" was a bad thing – a player who played one position in college, but doesn't project to that position in the pros and will likely have to move to a new position that he has little experience playing. This year, however, it would seem being a ‘tweener not only isn't a bad thing, it's a positive. No less than six potential first-round prospects are viewed as DE-OLB 'tweeners. In previous years, those questions would make that player drop in value, but this year – with the influx of teams running the 3-4 defense – the 'tweener has his rightful place as a hot draft commodity.
5. Trade Winds Blowing – For all the mock drafts that are out there, one thing that can consistently blow them up is an unforeseen trade – whether moving a veteran player to get a draft pick or a team trading up or down on draft day itself. While there haven't been any trades among the top six picks since 2004, don't be surprised if there are a handful of first-round trades that move some teams well up the draft board and slide other teams down – making it more difficult to accurately gauge who will remain on the draft board when teams like the Vikings make their selection.
One of these will be the dominant scenario that we'll be talking about Sunday. With only a day to wait, the heat will be on for teams to perform and one or more of these potential storylines will be what impacts the draft, who goes where and, for Vikings fans, who becomes the next big thing in purple and gold.