The Vikings were almost convinced they had DT Ryan Sims sewn up last year before a trade between the Cowboys and Chiefs took him away.
Much the same appears to be possible (if not probable) as the Vikings prepare for this year's draft. Starting on or about Feb. 1, VU will run its NFL mock draft version 1.0, which will likely be followed by several other incarnations as free-agent signings and trades shuffle the deck. In a typical year, one third or as many as half of the picks in the first round round don't end up where they were assigned. So far, the only picks being shuttled are through trades that sent Ricky Williams to Miami, Drew Bledsoe to Buffalo and Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay.
In the unlikely event the picks ahead of the Vikings aren't traded, here's how we currently have the Magnificent Seven draft pick going:
1. CINCINNATI -- QB Carson Palmer. Like so many other college QBs, his stock keeps soaring despite not playing. Don't be stunned if the Bengals say to heck with Akili Smith and Gus Frerotte and throw Palmer to wolves right away like the Lions did with Joey Harrington.
2. DETROIT -- WR Charles Rogers. A supreme talent and local guy from Michigan State, he fills a need and keeps the homers happy.
3. HOUSTON -- DE Terrell Suggs. The Texans will be the most likely to trade down, since they really need a RB and WR and there isn't truly another player worthy of getting grabbed this high at either of those positions. If the Texans stay here, they might consider tackle Jordan Gross or WR Andre Johnson.
4. CHICAGO -- QB Byron Leftwich. He could end up being a better pro QB than Palmer, but has the speed and maneuverability of a glacier. Perfect fit for the Bears, who still wish they had a chance to get Daunte Culpepper instead of Cade McNown.
5. DALLAS -- OT Jordan Gross. The Cowboys are likely going to add beef, whether it's Gross or Jimmy Kennedy. With changes underway at RB and QB, Parcells needs some continuity up front and the Utah tackle can help in that regard.
6. ARIZONA -- CB Terence Newman. His draft stock continues to rise and the Cards need a shutdown corner now that they're in a division with the 49ers, Rams and Seahawks.
7. MINNESOTA -- DT Jimmy Kennedy. Mike Tice would be ecstatic if Kennedy falls to him. He could go anywhere from No. 2 on and, at this point, the big concern would be the same as it was with Sims last year -- he makes it to No. 6 and a team jumps ahead of the Vikings to snag him.
Stay tuned in early February for our first full mock draft of the season.
* The votes are due in today for the Hall of Fame and former Viking Gary Zimmerman is on the ballot. Zimmerman and RB Marcus Allen are the only first-year players on this year's ballot. Parcells was supposed to be on the ballot but was removed when he took the Cowboys head coaching job.
* As reported earlier this week, it looks almost certain that changes are coming in the overtime system. Since being installed, less than one-third of overtime games have ended on the first possession, but, since 10 of 25 did this year, many teams have begun clucking about it. However, the changes could be more trouble than the current system.
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