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.