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 - Z. Wheeler 12:10 PM
Miami - H. Alvarez
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 12:10 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Boston - R. De La Rosa 12:10 PM
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly
Minnesota - P. Hughes 12:35 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Pittsburgh - G. Cole 1:15 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
Milwaukee - J. Nelson 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Turner
Detroit - D. Price 3:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Kluber
Seattle - C. Young 3:05 PM
Oakland - J. Hammel
San Francisco 2 Suspended
Colorado 2
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
San Diego - T. Ross
San Francisco - T. Hudson 4:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 3:00 PM
Chicago
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 Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
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: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close