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Arguably the strongest unit on the Vikings' team, the reason they make the list is due to age, with Jared Allen and Kevin Williams 30 and 31 respectively.
While that isn't too old by some standards, the constant wear and tear of fighting in the trenches can slow down even the best of players. They are also at the age where play tends to start declining.
The other defensive end, Brian Robison, only has one year of starting experience, even if he was solid throughout the season. And the team still hasn't filled in the gap left by Pat Williams, which is a huge, if unappreciated, role.
There are some young players behind the starters, (Everson Griffen, Christian Ballard, and rookie Trevor Guyton) but I think if the right player were available the Vikings would do well to get him. There are a few in this class who should translate well to the NFL.
Star Lotulelei, Utah
Standing at 6'3'' and listed at 325 pounds, Lotulelei has drawn comparisons to current Baltimore Raven Haloti Ngata. He has routinely faced double teams throughout his time at Utah, giving his teammates chances in one-on-one situations.
Looking to be more of a nose tackle in either a 3-4 or 4-3, his skills should translate nicely to the NFL. He had 44 tackles and 1.5 sacks last year, and is primarily a block eater and run-stopper in the middle.
Jonathan Hankins, Ohio State
If Hankins chooses not to play his senior year, he will be considered by many to be the top prospect coming out of the Big-10 this season. He projects to play both the one and three technique in the NFL, which ups his value.
Primarily a run-stopper, he has the ability to get some pressure from the middle. He collected 67 tackles and three sacks as a Sophomore, and is part of a very strong defensive line for the Buckeyes.
At 6'3'' and 335 pounds, look for him to go early in the draft, possibly as a top five pick.
Kawann Short, Purdue
Choosing to stay for his senior season to improve his technique, Short projects to be possibly the first defensive lineman off the board.
At 6'3'' and 310 pounds, he has the size of a three technique, but uses his strength and leverage well enough to play nose tackle.
He has had back to back six-sack seasons, and last year collected 54 tackles. He should be a natural for the combine, being an athletic freak, which will only strengthen his case for top defensive lineman.
Alex Okafor, Texas
Okafor has bounced between the tackle and end positions during his time with the Longhorns, collecting a combined 10.5 sacks. Seven of those sacks came last year, earning him a spot on the first-team All-Big 12 list.
He has the ability to get to the quarterback, but is known as both a run-stopper and pass-rusher. He will start at defensive end for Texas this year, and looks to prove that last season was not a fluke.
His legal case after an "incident" at a local pizza shop was dropped and he will not be suspended any games for it.
Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
Okafor's teammate and the more athletic of the two, Jeffcoat collected 71 tackles and eight sacks as a sophomore. Those numbers landed him on the All-Big 12 second team. He projects nicely for both the 4-3 end or 3-4 rush backer.
He isn't quite as strong as his teammate, but he has more burst and lateral quickness, making him a great pass-rusher. Should he choose to forgo his senior season at Texas, he could be a top pick in 2013.
The son of former NFL defensive end Jim Jeffcoat, he already would have a mentor in place.