Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Do the Vikings believe in Te'o?

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 21, 2013 - 8:48 PM

Not so fast, says Smith.

“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 has 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.”



 

  • related content

  • NFL draft preview: Linebackers

    Sunday April 21, 2013

    The hot topic: What’s the worry factor on Georgia’s dynamic duo?Forget for a moment the Tim Tebow-sized circus that’s expected...

  • FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2012, file photo, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o waits for the snap during the second half of Notre Dame’s 21-6 win over Boston College in a NCAA college football game in Boston. Te’o is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File) ORG XMIT: NY151

  • Draft experts differ significantly on where they think Manti Te’o will be drafted this week. Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN, for one, has him going to the Chicago Bears with the 20th overall pick.

  • Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones works out for NFL football scouts during Georgia pro day, Thursday, March 21, 2013, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 2 Top 9th Inning
Washington 4
Baltimore 5 Bottom 7th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Kansas City 7 Bottom 8th Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 10
Chicago WSox 0 Bottom 8th Inning
Detroit 3
Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 2
Pittsburgh 3 Top 9th Inning
Atlanta 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3
Tampa Bay 5 Bottom 8th Inning
Boston 1
Houston 0 Top 6th Inning
Texas 2
St. Louis 3 Top 6th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Arizona 1 Bottom 5th Inning
Minnesota 4
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 0 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Columbus 2
Boston 2 3rd Prd 7:31
Montreal 2
Nashville 2 3rd Prd 11:25
Tampa Bay 2
Philadelphia 0 3rd Prd 5:33
Toronto 4
Detroit 1 2nd Prd 8:33
Chicago 0
San Jose 0 2nd Prd
Vancouver 1
Arizona 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
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: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close