Vikings predraft roster analysis, Day 1: Defensive line
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ON THE ROSTER
Ends: Jared Allen, Ray Edwards*, Jayme Mitchell, Michael Montgomery, Brian Robison.
Tackles: Fred Evans*, Letroy Guion, Tremaine Johnson, Jimmy Kennedy, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams.
*=Restricted free agent, has not signed tender.
Though Pat Williams is in decline at age 37, this remains one of the most talented -- and deepest -- front fours in the NFL. Scouts continue to rate Allen and Kevin Williams among the best at their respective positions, and Edwards is an ascending player who broke through with 12½ sacks last season (including playoffs). Edwards hasn't signed his first-round tender ($2.521 million) and recently said he won't attend the Vikings' offseason program, which kicks off Monday. If he eventually plays under the tender, Edwards would be easily the lowest-paid starter; in a year with a salary cap, the other three would account for almost $24 million in cap space, with more than half of that for Allen ($13,163,444). Despite speculation to the contrary, Pat Williams seems likely to play a 14th NFL season in the final year of his contract. Kennedy re-signed for two years and $6 million and figures as a key backup. Evans (second-round tender, $1.759 million) has been a rotational player for three years, and some scouts think Guion could factor despite playing in only nine games over his first two seasons. Robison has been durable and brings a situational pass rush. Montgomery -- a try-hard guy who signed a one-year deal after getting cut by Green Bay -- would have to beat out Mitchell and perhaps some rookies just to make the roster as the fourth end.
ONE SCOUT'S TAKE
"If you broke down just the right ends, Jared Allen's in your top two or three. If you did your undertackles, Kevin's probably one of your top two or three undertackles as well. Same thing with Pat at nose, and even Ray - if you just break down pure left ends, he's probably one of the best that I can think of. I think across the board, as long as they can stay healthy, it's a good bunch."
-- NFC pro scout
The Vikings have to replace Pat Williams sooner than later, but as long as he returns for next season, it's not the most pressing concern on the roster. Allen is signed through 2013, so locking up Edwards for the long term has to be the priority here. Though it's possible a defensive tackle the Vikings covet will be available at No. 30, the more likely scenario has them adding depth in later rounds.
MEL KIPER'S TOP FIVE
Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech (6-4, 275)
Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida (6-6, 265)
Brandon Graham, Michigan (6-2, 263)
Everson Griffen, Southern Cal (6-3, 280)
Tyson Alualu, Cal (6-3, 295)
Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (6-4, 300)
Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma (6-4, 297)
Dan Williams, Tennessee (6-3, 327)
Brian Price, UCLA (6-2, 300)
Jared Odrick, Penn State (6-4, 306)