Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Do the Vikings believe in Manti Te'o?

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 21, 2013 - 9:30 AM

“There won’t be any problems in the locker room,” Smith said. “No doubt, no matter where he goes, guys are going to make fun of him at least a little bit. But I know Manti and I don’t think it’ll be a problem. It’s not like he did anything malicious or that he’s a bad guy or anything.

“I don’t think he was making anything up. I think he was just a little naïve maybe.”

A football mentality

When it comes to football, however, Smith said Te’o has the mental toughness to withstand anything thrown his way. By all accounts, that’s what he displayed while being verbally pepper-sprayed by reporters at the scouting combine.

“This is a Mormon kid from Hawaii who came to the freezing cold of Indiana to play for Notre Dame, a Catholic school, and he thrived,” Smith said. “The No. 1 thing about Manti is he’s all about playing football. Guys are going to make fun of you no matter what happens, especially as a rookie. You’re going to get poked fun at a little bit. Manti is the kind of guy who will just roll with it. Once he starts making plays, which he will, guys will forget about everything that’s happened.”

It’s uncertain how teams view the girlfriend hoax. What is known, however, is every team that’s interviewed Te’o has asked him to explain it. Spielman watched Dr. Phil for the first time in his life and admits he’s called on his young sons to help the old man get a better grip on social media and all this “tweeting or twittering.”

Spielman is especially interested in Te’o. He has no starting middle linebacker, a need for a three-down playmaker and a penchant for picking Golden Domers. The three who played with Te’o (Smith, safety Robert Blanton and tight end Kyle Rudolph) have given the green light on his character.

“I was at Notre Dame’s pro day and hung out with Manti and those guys,” Blanton said. “I told Manti to come on up to Minnesota because it’s like Notre Dame up there. He would be a great fit. He’ll be great dealing with the scrutiny he’s going to face. He’s a strong guy physically and mentally. He was the main man at Notre Dame. He won’t have any trouble.”

Headed for the NFL

Draft experts differ significantly on where they think Te’o will be selected. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. projects him as the 20th pick to Chicago, which needs a replacement for Brian Urlacher. But his ESPN cohort Todd McShay thinks Te’o will slide to No. 32 as Baltimore’s replacement for another future Hall of Famer, Ray Lewis.

“I tried to get him down to Minnesota because it makes so much makes sense at No. 23,” Kiper said. “They desperately need a middle linebacker. It would be perfect for what they do there. Rick Spielman’s brother, Chris Spielman, was the same thing. Great production, not a great 40. Chris Spielman had a heck of a career [at middle linebacker] in the NFL.”

Two other factors besides the hoax could be in play if Te’o tumbles: His 40-yard dash times and his poor performance in Notre Dame’s blowout loss to Alabama in the national championship game. After running a 4.82 at the scouting combine, Te’o ran a 4.71 at his pro day. That was respectable, but not in the same ballpark as the 4.5s run by San Francisco’s Patrick Willis (No. 11 in 2007) or Carolina’s Luke Kuechly (No. 9 in 2012).

“First of all, I know he missed some tackles in the Alabama game, but one game does not define a career,” Smith said. “As for the 40 times, Manti plays with an instinct and recognizes things so quickly that he plays faster than anything anyone is going to measure at a combine or a pro day.

“Whatever was asked of him, he could make himself fit. He played in a 4-3 early on in our careers and then he played a 3-4 at the end. Bottom line is Manti Te’o can play football. He’d be an awesome fit for us.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
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
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
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close