Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Combine participation is just the beginning for Te'o in pre-draft process

Posted by: under Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier, Vikings draft Updated: February 26, 2013 - 8:17 AM

After Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o participated in his highly anticipated NFL Combine press conference Sunday, we brought you a recap of the poise and grace he showed in continuing to explain through and move on from his bizarre fake girlfriend hoax.

Saturday’s appearance in the Lucas Oil Stadium interview room marked Te’o’s first appearance in front of a media swarm since the controversy broke last month. He had previously done lengthy one-on-one interviews with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap and ABC’s Katie Couric.

Yet if the complexities of the Te’o scandal were far too intricate to fully understand after Schaap’s 2.5-hour grilling and another hour-long session with Couric – not to mention the two-day Dr. Phil special with admitted hoax perpetrator, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo – then Saturday’s 14-minute session at the combine certainly wasn’t going to provide final resolution to everything.

You can read all of what Te’o said Saturday in Indianapolis right here.

But what also should be made clear is that while the star linebacker’s participation at the combine will certainly move his story forward, there is plenty more NFL teams will be digging for and trying to learn about his controversy, his mental make-up, his maturity and, yes, his football ability before April’s draft.

On Monday, Te’o participated in athletic testing at the combine. His results:

40-yard dash: 4.82 seconds

Broad jump: 113 inches

Vertical leap: 33 inches

Three-cone drill: 7.13 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4,27 seconds

Bench press: Did not participate due to a right shoulder injury

After that, for those teams who remain interested in Te’o as a prospect, the private interviews in the weeks ahead will be vital.

As Te’o departs the combine, here’s a reminder of what many NFL folks have been saying about his situation.

Leslie Frazier, Vikings head coach

"Probably like everybody, you want to hear from him, what exactly went on. I'm looking forward to sitting down and talking with him … just to get to know him as a person, just to get a feel for would he fit on our football team. I think he's a very good football player from what our scouts have told me. I haven't had a chance to watch him on tape yet. It's a matter of can he fit our locker room, can he fit our football team and what would his role be?”

Rick Spielman, Vikings GM

“It’s not like anything else we don’t do. You gather all the information you can. I did watch Dr. Phil for the first time in my life [a few weeks back]. Which was interesting. I was like, ‘This guy makes a living?’ Maybe we should hire him to come down. We might need some of that. I did watch those interviews, with that other person [Tuiasosopo]. But all we do is gather all the information, and you go through your process to make the determination. … In the end, you’ll sit there and discuss all that. Every team will make their own determination. How do you compare what happened to him, because he’s an extremely talented football player, against a guy who may have a drug issue or may have an arrest record or may have some other off-field issue? Everybody’s going to have their difference of opinion. We’ll go through that process as well. … We know some things that have not been reported in the media. I’ll say that.”

Gil Brandt, former vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys

“Teams will bring him in for visits. And I’d bet there will be upward of 15 teams wanting to get him to their facility. And what I’d want to use that time for is to have somebody who understands those kinds of things more than I do. So you’re going to want to have somebody from your psychological evaluation department who’s versed on these kinds of things take a look at it. And you want them to dig into the situation and tell you, ‘Hey, this guy is a fraud.’ Or ‘This guy is truthful.’ And as I’ve said myself, I don’t think he’s a fraud. I think he’s a truthful guy. But I’ll also tell you what, when all this first came out, I had no idea what to think. Because nothing like this has ever happened before. That’s why it’s so interesting.”

Ron Rivera, Panthers head coach

“If he can handle that distraction and still be able to perform on the football field, I really don't think it makes that much of a difference. Whatever happened is a set of circumstances that he only he really knows what it was all about. We'll talk about it.  We'll find out about it. The bottom line is, is he a good person and can he play football? That's probably the most important thing that he'll have to answer. I don't think it's going to hurt his draft stock. He's coming here to improve his draft stock. I do think he's a heck of a football player and I think he's got a bright future in this league.”

Les Snead, Rams general manager

“That issue is not, ‘Life's over.’ He's 21. Life ends at maybe 80. He's got a lot of healthy years left.”

Mike Mayock, NFL Network draft expert and NBC color commentator for Notre Dame games

“You better look people in the eye. And I know you're going to be embarrassed and I know it's going to be uncomfortable. All the way up through the draft, it's not going to be a comfortable situation for this kid. But don't be embarrassed.  I think he's a good kid, and I think he made a mistake, and he's naive and all that stuff. But don't back away. Look people in the eye, tell them your story, and let the tape do the talking for you. … I think there are two schools of thought. One is most of us have made mistakes at age 21, and the kid's naive, and it's embarrassing. But it shouldn't really hurt the kid because it's not like one of those major things where you say we can't have him on our team. Some other teams are going to look at him and say he lied to his father. He had a chance when he found out about what really happened, he had a chance to tell the nation, and he lied to the nation. And do you want a liar in your locker room? … At the end of the day what I think happens is that up until is that story became public, he had a plus, plus, plus intangible grade. Was he going to become Ray Lewis, a guy who could really galvanize a locker room? He had a huge intangible grade that would push his on‑the‑field grade higher. But I think he's lost all of that. At best, it's now going to be neutral. So now it’s just, hey, what kind of player you are, and where can we slot you? “

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Chicago 6:00 PM
Cleveland
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Washington
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
New York
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Tampa Bay 8:30 PM
Edmonton
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Are you happy to see the Royals in the World Series?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT