The countdown is on to the 2022 NFL Draft, as the league's annual extravaganza is just over three weeks away.
And while there is plenty of anticipation and excitement to see how the draft shakes out, analytics website Pro Football Focus recently ranked its strongest position groups among the prospects.
Edge rushers led the way, with 14 total players in PFF's list of the Top 100 overall prospects.
Michael Renner wrote:
Not only are there 14 edge rushers in the PFF top 100, but there are also three in the top 10. This class has high-end talent, including the presumptive No. 1 pick Aidan Hutchinson, as well as depth into Day 2.
The top four edges in this year's class — Hutchinson (No. 1 on PFF's big board), Kayvon Thibodeaux (No. 4), George Karlaftis (No. 10) and Travon Walker (No. 14) — would have all been EDGE1 in the 2021 class.
Linebacker was next up with a dozen high-end players on PFF's list of 100.
This class is unlikely to match 2020 in terms of first-rounders. That year, four linebackers came off the board in the first round, while it doesn't seem likely that more than two get drafted in the first round this year.
Still, this year's class should outshine that one on Day 2. There are 11 linebackers between No. 33 and No. 100 on the PFF draft board, and the only player no longer likely to go on Day 2 is LSU's Damone Clark after he underwent spinal fusion surgery.
Cornerback, which could be one of a handful of positions of interest to the Vikings, came in at No. 5 on PFF's overall list.
This is one of the top-heaviest cornerback groups in recent memory. Depending on your scheme, Derek Stingley, Jr., Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner and Trent McDuffie could all be seen as elite talents on team boards. All feature within the top-10 on the PFF board, as well.
PFF ranked 11 position groups in all, with quarterback coming in at the final group, with seven players in the Top 100.
While this class may have some depth, it lacks top-end talent more than any other quarterback class we've seen in our eight years of college grading. Due to positional value, the quarterback position gets a healthy bump on the PFF draft board. Even with that sizeable deference, the top quarterback in this class still only checks in at 22nd overall (Sam Howell).
Maybe last place on this list is slightly harsh, but that lack of top-end talent is unlike any class we've seen in our eight years of college grading.
PFF's full list can be found here.
The Vikings currently have eight total picks in the draft, beginning with the 12th overall selection in the first round.
Barr, Richardson among top remaining FAs on Rosenthal's list
The bulk of free agency is in the past, as the league has mostly turned its attention to the draft.
Gregg Rosenthal's annual list of his Top 101 free agents reflects that mindset, too, as only 28 players remain from his initial rankings.
There are some big names remaining, as safety Tyrann Mathieu, wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., cornerback Stephon Gilmore and tackle Duane Brown are atop Rosenthal's list.
View the best photos of Vikings LB Anthony Barr from the 2021 season.
But there are a pair of players who were with the Vikings in 2021, too, in linebacker Anthony Barr and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
Here's what Rosenthal had to say about each:
The game-changing splash plays are mostly gone. Still, Barr is the rare linebacker who can rush, tackle and cover, barely leaving the field.
On Richardson, Rosenthal wrote:
Seems like no one has been on more of our Top 101 lists over the years than Richardson, who still delivers professional snaps on a year-to-year basis.
Patrick Peterson was on Rosenthal's list, but he returned to Minnesota last week.