Mar 26, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish former player Manti Te

Has Rick Spielman Given Away the Vikings’ Manti Te’o Plans?

This is the time of the season for rampant guessing and speculation. We are all trying to read the tea leaves. All trying to get a feel for what our favorite teams may be thinking regarding this weekend’s draft. We are parsing people’s words like nobody’s business. Trying to glean meaning from the vaguest of comments.

This is dangerous because, as has been stated a million times, teams disseminate a lot of bullcrap this time of year. Rick Spielman is a master of bullcrap so that makes it even harder for us Viking watchers. But has Spielman the spin-master actually tipped his hand this time? Has Spielman given the guesswork artists something tangible to home in on?

Rick said a lot of stuff in his presser the other day, most of it worthless. But he did say one thing of possible interest regarding the middle linebacker position. Thus far we have all been operating on the assumption that because the Vikes have no starting-quality MLB on their roster they must be set to address that position in the draft. But Spielman indicated that the Vikes perhaps do have a starting MLB on their roster. He indicated that Will backer Erin Henderson could be moved inside and play that position. Oh really Rick?

So that gets the gears churning for those of us who think way too much about this stuff. Does Spielman really mean that Henderson can play inside or is he just saying that to throw people off the scent? Is he trying to de-emphasize the Vikings’ need at MLB in an attempt to disguise the team’s intentions regarding a certain player from Notre Dame who happens to play that position?

I am sorry but we have to bring Manti Te’o into the discussion. There has just been too much talk about the Vikings’ interest in Te’o. There was even a story about Spielman taking Te’o to dinner ahead of Te’o’s pro day that I don’t think was ever meant to get out there, and therefore could not have been part of a bullcrapping campaign. If you start putting all this together, you have to conclude that Te’o is the guy the Vikings are after and they are smokescreening up a storm in the last days before the draft hoping to protect their position. Even putting out stuff about their interest in trading up for Tavon Austin or Cordarrelle Patterson.

These are the facts about Rick Spielman. 1. He drafts for need. 2. He will reach for a guy (Christian Ponder was a reach at 12). 3. He will trade up for a guy if he wants a guy bad enough and is afraid he might lose that guy (Harrison Smith last year). So given all the evidence we have at our disposal and given Spielman’s own past draft habits? It appears very likely the Vikings will draft Manti Te’o Thursday night. And there is a decent chance they will trade up a few spots to guarantee they get him.

That’s just how it appears if you connect the dots. I will probably turn out to be wrong.

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Tags: Minnesota Vikings

  • David Thayer

    I personally think Manti will surprise people. Despite his poor performances as of recent (Alabama, Combine) he has the tools and natural instincts to succeed. He just needs a good locker room, coaching, teammates and focus. He will get that with the Vikings. Right now, anyone in his situation would not look as good as they did earlier in their career with all the circus hype that surrounded him. I was completely against the Vikings getting him over a month ago. But the more film, interviews, studies, pro day’s and more I read about him. He seems to be a better lock then I have ever anticipated. I really do hope the Vikings do pull the trigger. He will have a secure locker room with the rest of the Golden Domers.

    • Rob

      Exactly. People who point to Teo’s one bad game are kidding themselves. There’s a reason he won Defensive Player of the Year, runner up for the Heisman, and a total of 7 national awards. It’s because he’s a good player.

  • optionbets

    Some people also think that Speilman was dancing around the question
    pretending he didn’t know what the question was about “drafting a
    similar player to one that departed (hinting at Austin) and then said no
    we only get guys who fit our scheme and that doesn’t play into it…
    thus he is trying to hide his interest in Tavon Austin.

    • optionbets

      Also… lack of interest in trading up may be our way of trying to lower the price and so teams aren’t prepared for us jumping them to get a guy.

      On the other hand, I think Speilman may be comfortable telling people he has interest in trading downs because he is telling the truth when he said the phone has been ringing and has no problem with advertising what some may seem as “desperation” . His smile afterwards was legit (wrinkles around his eyes)and not forced. Maybe possible he is willing to move up AND back if the offers are coming in and he feels he can go get the ammo.

      last year the reason he was able to go and trade for Harrison was only AFTER he accumulated picks from the Browns trade down. Because f that extra ammo they got, they were able to go out and get Harrison otherwise they may not of. So if they intend to move up it is only IF they believe they have lots of offers to move back and can get the ammo afterwards.

      • todd hazlett

        Please no Teo. And yes, there have been a plethora of college players
        that have won awards and couldnt make it in the pros, the bama game
        exposed him to me. ask yourself, is he really in the top 30 prospects? top 50?

  • Mandooooo

    I honestly think we have so many choices in this draft we really can’t go wrong. It must be like Christmas for RS right now. I’m not sold on Manti, but RS and CO did an amazing job at scouting talent last year, so I’m confident they’ll do a good job this year.

  • Rob

    If there’s one good thing about having glaring needs at 3 or 4 positions now and 2 or 3 other positions next year, it’s that they will have plenty of good options to spend their picks on if their favorite player is already gone.

  • Daniel Laxen

    I agree that Te’o is a good player. Should the Vikings take him I’d not be shocked, but this draft is a fluid situation. There are sure to be plenty of twists, and players we could take.The problem is now coming in the form of, is Te’o a 3 down player?… I have a theory about why we got a 1st round pick out of Percy Harvin. Remember early in the process there was no way we’d get a 1st rounder out of him? Needing a new contract and all. Let’s not even discuss the size of that contract!…Everyone thought Spielman had pulled a coop getting that 1st round pick. Now we find out this may indeed be the weakest draft in a decade, or so? I heard a coach mention at the combine the weakness of the WR class.(coincidentally a Seahawk coach) ..We hear terms like deep draft, etc…Well let me tell you this. There are as many as 2 guards being taken in the top 10 picks tomorrow and guards simply don’t go in the top ten unless they is really no talent at the skill positions, that or they are sure things…We are looking at 3-4 tackles, 2 guards, 3 DTs, a safety, or CB, and possibly a QB in the top 10 this draft.(I know that’s more than 10)…That fellas is pathetic for skill position players in this league!..I truly believe that is why the Seahawks knowing how drab this draft was gave Spielman their #1 at selection 25. They knew it would be almost a crap shoot in that slot! Now Spielman will, in my opinion, trade back and gain picks to lessen the probability of swinging and missing with pick 25…That is if we can find a sucker to take the bait? Write that on the wall you guys!