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DraftWatch: Starting the Vikings' discussion

12/1/2011

The Minnesota Vikings' 2-9 record is tied for the second worst in the NFL, and as we noted earlier this week, they currently hold the tiebreaker over the 2-9 St. Louis Rams and for now are positioned to be assigned the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft.

It's worth noting that three teams are 3-8 and eight others are 4-7. Plenty could change in the next five weeks. Regardless, I think it's time to start familiarizing ourselves with some players the Vikings might consider at the top of the draft.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has updated his top 32 players in the draftInsider, including underclassmen who haven't yet had the opportunity to declare for the draft. The entire list is available to Insider subscribers, but I can bring you the top five as a way of getting an idea of the players who will receive early scrutiny in the draft season.

1. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck

Seifert comment: Luck seems destined to go No. 1 overall if the Indianapolis Colts hold that position.

2. USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil

Seifert comment:
The early consensus is that Kalil, 6-foot-7 and 295 pounds, will be ready to start at left tackle on the first day of training camp.

3. LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne

Seifert comment:
Cornerback might be the Vikings' top need. Claiborne is big (6-foot-1) and is said to have elite coverage skills.

4. Alabama running back Trent Richardson

Seifert comment: Running back might be the only position the Vikings absolutely don't need to address this offseason.

5. USC quarterback Matt Barkley

Seifert comment:
If Barkley, Oklahoma's Landry Jones or Baylor's Robert Griffin III prove to be a legitimate top-five talent, the Vikings could have an opportunity to trade down and accumulate a pile of extra draft picks.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has been updating his Big BoardInsider throughout the fall, and for the most part it matches McShay's latest offering. Kiper does rank Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon in his top five instead of Barkley. Stay tuned. I'm guessing we'll hit this topic once or twice more before April 26, 2012.