Rick Spielman is really really into Manti Te’o. Not only did Spielman attend Te’o’s pro day at Notre Dame last month, he also took the linebacker to dinner before the pro day according to Peter King. Spielman is giving Te’o a once-over worthy of the show The Bachelor. Will it end in a draft day consummation or is Te’o doomed to once again have his heart broken? You know, like when the fake girlfriend died. Sorry, sore subject?
All kidding aside…whatever you think of Te’o as a football player or a person, it’s obvious the Vikings are interested in him as a solution to their current MLB issue. They’ve met with Te’o a couple of times and Spielman had the dinner. If they’re smokescreening, they are sure going all-out on it. But in this case I’m fairly certain it’s not a smokescreen. Te’o is getting special attention from the Vikings because they want to satisfy themselves he is an intelligent high-character guy and not some kind of crazy lying nut or total idiot.
By now I’m guessing Spielman has gathered more than enough intel – some by grilling Te’o’s former defensive teammates Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton probably – to make his decision about the off-the-field stuff. So it comes down to whether he and the scouts think he can actually play MLB in their scheme. Can he move sideline to sideline? Can he play coverage? Is he large and strong enough or is he going to get blown up a lot like in the Alabama game?
It’s clear what the Vikings are looking for in this draft. They want their Brian Urlacher. I’m not sure Te’o fits the bill. Spielman may feel differently. He may be yearning to draft Te’o. Or he may just want to spoon with Te’o. Anything is possible at this point.