I was trying not to push the Minolta too much (other than my mentionthat I plan on buying KM DSLR, and suggesting you add the 5D to your list).
But, Ira has a very good point. WithKonica-Minolta's DSLR offering (7D and new 5D), you'd have the benefits of antishake with every lens. This would give you about a 2 stop advantage compared to system withoutstabilization for reducing blur from camera shake (which is magnified as more zoom is used).
It sounds like your budget is going to be cutting it pretty close. But, the new 5D is shipping in the U.S. now at $799 for the body only and $899 for a kit including an 18-70mm f/3-5.5.6 lens.
Some online vendors are selling the body for about $700 now (approximately $100 off), or the kit with lens for about $800, and the used market is full of lenses at bargain prices. I'm not sure how long that's going to last, though (since Konica-Minolta will have an initial production of 50,000 units per month with the 5D, there are going to be a lot of new Konica-Minolta DSLR owners combing the used lens market soon).
That's one of the reasons I started buying Minolta lenses first, even though I haven't bought a Konica-Minolta DSLR body yet (to get my lenses before the "feeding frenzy" starts). :-)
I suspect that's why Pentax lenses seem to be in shorter supply in the used market now. These little Pentax models are such good values that a lot of users have bought them (as well as buying up a lot of the used lens supply).