Gregory (6-foot-4 7/8, 235 pounds) was a defensive end at Nebraska, but he seems likely to move to linebacker in the NFL. The Vikings took outside linebacker Anthony Barr in the first round last year, and he is projected as the starting strongside 'backer this season. The projected starting weakside linebacker is veteran Chad Greenway, who turned 32 in January. The projected starting ends for Minnesota are Brian Robison and Everson Griffen.
Gregory's draft value is somewhat up in the air after news broke that he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks, a former NFL Scout, wrote that "Gregory's inability to clean up before the NFL Scouting Combinewill raise serious red flags about his maturity, professionalism and commitment to football." Fellow analyst Daniel Jeremiah, also a former NFL scout, said he thinks Gregory will fall out of the top 10.
Minnesota, whose first pick comes at No. 11, tied for ninth in the league with 41 sacks last season.
Cornerback and offensive tackle would seem to be higher priorities than linebacker for the Vikings, but Gregory's pass-rush upside -- notwithstanding the marijuana issue -- is considered one of the best in the draft. Given that Minnesota must play pass-happy division rivals Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay twice each season, adding a pass rusher could appeal to Vikings coach Mike Zimmer.