The NFL Draft has the same allure as a record Powerball jackpot.

Men (and some women) from around the globe converge onto the internet for about 11 and a half months to try an predict, analyze, and grade the next year of fresh prospects.  We follow their every move, chart their plays, scour police blotters, and argue about their potential all the way up until their names are called… and then some more.

I’m not going to say that analysts, bloggers, or fans know nothing about these prospects.  They know quite a bit, actually, and it really is impressive how much more the common man knows about Tyrann Mathieu’s pee than he knows about… oh, we’ll go with Darfur here in order to maintain my long and proud tradition of being completely cliche.

While we know quite a bit about these prospects, and know even more about the rosters that make up our favorite teams, the truth is that the ultimate reality show that is the NFL Draft process gets it’s appeal from the fact that it is almost completely, utterly, 100 percent unpredictable.  Outside of some obvious top three picks, the only thing that is predictable about the NFL Draft is that it will be unpredictable (see, cliche after cliche, I can’t help myself).

Now, I have been predicting all offseason long that the Vikings would aim to select Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o in the first round of this week’s Draft, and wavered on that prediction only momentarily between Percy Harvin’s departure from Minnesota and Greg Jennings’ arrival.

That is why I was shocked to see someone much older, much more experienced, and someone that is supposed to be much wiser than me make a bold and perhaps foolish statement.

“It is a 100 percent certainty that the Vikings will wind up with Te’o,” wrote 1500 ESPN‘s Patrick Reusse this weekend.

Now, there are plenty of ways to justify the selection of Te’o and patterns one could read into to try and predict that it will happen.  Rick Spielman’s affinity for Notre Dame players.  Spielman’s extensive visits with Te’o prior to the Draft.  The Vikings glaring hole at the middle linebacker spot.  The departure of Jasper Brinkley.  His talent as a prospective player in the NFL.

Yet, Reusse backs up his ridiculous statement by dismissing those reasons and points to a different pattern, one that a rational person might say has absolutely zero bearing on what happens this Thursday evening.  He says that the Vikings just can’t keep themselves from having training camp drama, to the Nth degree, and points to numerous obvious examples over the years to back up his assessment.  Te’o, of course, is expected to bring a certain amount of circus atmosphere with him to the NFL following his fake dead girlfriend hoax storyline that mangled and otherwise fantastic collegiate career.

In short, he expects us to believe that Jim McMahon being brought in to start for the Vikings in 1993 is a legitimate reason for expecting the Vikings to draft Te’o.

Seriously.

I planned to write a Monday night article warning our readers against the dangers of buying into what you read and hear in the days approaching the actual event.  Reusse essentially wrote that article for me with that gem he graced us with.

The Vikings have clear needs at wide out, linebacker, and in the defensive secondary.  They are aging along the defensive line.  Rick Spielman loves to make his draft board align with the roster needs by moving around early and often.

There are these patterns that give clues to how this mystery novel is going to end, and they are fun to talk about.

However, like any great mystery novel, the ending is not only inevitable…

It is unpredictable.

45 COMMENTS

  1. Yawwwwnnnn . . .

    The Te’o getting catfished story is already pretty much played out and by the 2nd preseason game I doubt that it will be anything more than an occasional passing comment. Ray Lewis killed a guy (allegedly) and that was quickly forgotten. If he is there then I’m pretty sure Spielman will pick him – and I’m fine with that so long as they don’t move up for him. Not picking him would also be a bit of a blow to Harrison and Rudolf and probably wouldn’t be wise to create a riff with a couple of your key players.

    Would still like to see them package one of there 1st rounders with their 4th and move up and grab Warmack if at all possible. The O-line would be looking good for the next several years and there is lots of depth to still get a good wr and dt

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      • Wouldn’t be disappointed if they went after Richardson as well but I think Warmack is closer to a sure thing and they could really use an upgrade at guard. I don’t see the same talent there in the later rounds that I do at dt is why I would rather see them go after Warmack. They’re a power running team and to me, this guy is like a faster version of Hutch.

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        • I don’t think he’s close to hutches level or ever will be. Chance is overrated because he played for Bama and if he had mediocre talent around him he would struggle. I think he will end up as a slightly above average guard in the NFL. Cooper would also be a better fit for us imo because he would be able to pull more and get AD to the outside.

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          • But to clarify I wouldn’t want us to trade up for Cooper either only take him if he falls to us. He rose too high and fast this offseason and I usually don’t like players that do(Dontrai Poe of last year comes to mind specifically)

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            • I was talking about in college, he had Fluker and Jones next to him(both first/2nd round picks) I was saying if he was inserted into say the gophers OL he would struggle and not look nearly as good. In the NFL he wont have such a man vs boy advantage on the OL.

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  2. That Reusse article was pretty ridiculous. I laughed and was shaking my head in agreement when I read that line stating the Vikings will 100% take Te-o because, as you said, there are a ton of things that point towards that. Then I got to the guts of the article and was shaking my head for an entirely different reason. He actually could have had a solid article but instead put together that ridiculous list and completely ignored the fact that the organization itself has been trying hard since this Spielman/Frazier regime went in place to avoid distractions. Players in camp last year talked about how refreshing it was to just concentrate on football. The Percy deal was before training camp and was his own fault. I also don’t think Te-o is going to cause the circus people are expecting. Sure they will question him the first couple days, but once the pads are on and he starts hitting people no one will care (unless of course that Tuissisopo guy shows up in the stands wearing a dress).

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  3. Kyle and Harrison like him a lot, They’re trying to sell Rick on him.
    I really wouldn’t be surprised seeing them draft him.
    ( Unless some Blue chip falls )
    3 more days !

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  4. Good post Adam.
    I love college football and the draft… with a little help from the Internet, an average joe like me can become a self proclaimed draft know-it-all. YouTube highlights, Internet scouting reports and draft big boards make the draft process a blast for NFL fans.

    Thanks Adam and Brett for your part in making the offseason and the draft process an enjoyable and fan friendly event for Viking faithful like me!

    As for Te’o… I don’t think he will be a distraction.

    I am not 100% sure what Spielman will do, but last year it was easy to guess Kalil and Harrison Smith with the first 2 picks. This year is more difficult to predict but I guess is Te’o and Robert Woods will be the first 2 picks. Robert Woods is now ranked in the top 25 on cbssports.com latest ranking. Te’o is ranked 30th.

    Both have good value, fill needs, and are perfect fits for the Vikings.

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  5. I really hope the Vikings don’t draft Te’o in the first. I would be ok with a second round pick, but not first.

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        • I never said Minter would be a pro bowler. I watched when ND when they played Stanford last year and then also when they played Alabama. Teo got steam rolled both games. Just picking the least of two evils.

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          • I’d prefer AJ Klein in the 4th round to either of them. Not saying hell be better than both but very close and 3 round later.

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    • I do not beklieve anything what I read now. I also saw where they said Floyd might drop out of the top 15. Yep, the lying season is in full swing.

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  6. the nfl is very different from college ball. players adapt or don’t. it’s a crap shoot and can change a franchise a lot, an entertaining mix

    i really want the WR we draft to be good, cuz the QB position has to work, and ponder or whoever will need their WRs

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    • I agree. I think the Vikes will draft 2 WR’s this draft. Gotta buildup the talent base in that department.

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          • Patterson is very risky but he is the only WR in this draft who COULD become a top 5 wr (Megatron/Fitz/AJ Green/Julio Jones level). That said he could also go the way of Mike Williams. Woods I see as a solid but not spectacular wr think Sidney Rice potential.

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  7. If either Flloyd (unlikely), Star or Richardson fall to the teens I hope the Vikes move up to get them (without giving up the 2nd rounder). The difference in caliber of player in the 20-50 range doesn’t seem to differ too much, so staying put might not make the most sense in this case.

    It was also interesting to see Mike Mayock rate Hayden as his top CB over Milliner due to his better ball skills. He’s the only person i’ve seen with that ranking, but he seems to be pretty accurate with that sort of stuff.

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  8. If you watch Te’o on tape you will notice he is very quick to read and react… his initial burst and movement to the ball is outstanding.

    I don’t think he is a big hitter… his tackling isn’t pretty but he seems to be able to bring the ball carriers down. Te’o doesn’t seem to get faked out or be out of position very often.

    Shedding blocks at the next level would be my biggest question mark on Te’o. At ND he was so quick at reading and bursting to the play, he went unblocked on most of his tackles.

    Alabama was very good at disrupting his game. They didn’t try to beat him with quick pitches, sweeps or screens. They had a power running game and made sure they put a body on him.

    No body in the NFC north has a power running game as good as what Alabama has. Te’o is a hardworker… with good coaching he can learn how to take on and shed blockers better. I thinik Te’o will be just fine in the NFL.

    Te’o is not a track star… but his instinct, burst and quickness is an upgrade over Brinkley or Henderson in pass coverage.

    Alabama ran the ball 45 times for 265 yards… The teams that what to play that style of football against the Vikings will be few and far between.

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    • Pretty good analysis of Te’o and I somewhat agree; that said we could get just as serviceable MLB as a cheap FA or in later rounds. If you are drafting a low value position (LB) in the first round the player BETTER be a Pro Bowler which I don’t see Te’o ever getting to.

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  9. Manti! Hey, no offense to any of you guys…but I’m ready for the damn draft. So tired of all the talk…the mocks, endless mocks….ugh. Just two more days! Hahahahaha!

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    • No doubt! I took vacation over the draft again. The BBQ is ready to go and I’ll have a cooler filled full of my favorite “adult beverages”.

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      • I hope you don’t live in Minnesota then because with our luck well get another 12″ of snow again on draft day. I also hope you like Te’o or you have a lot of Leines.

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        • I an from Minnesota but live in Texas. 78F today and not a hint of snow! Not sold on Teo. Just want a LB that can cover and provide a little thump in the middle and that can tackle. I pray Hunter does not show up on the Vikings draft card. Then the shots will start to flow!

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          • Kiko Alonso! I think he will be as good if not better than Te’o and we can get him 2 rounds later.

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  10. Here’s a question for everyone. Who will be the biggest slider in the 1st round? It happens every year. Any guesses?

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    • Should have added a “?”, a Jacksonville reporter was taking pictures of the new jags uniforms at the Nike HQ, and they were next to the Viking ones. What do you guys think?

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  11. LeCount 2 cents…..I believe Teo would be a very nice pick…..This that or the other, the guy has instincts. Strength can be added. He is a good kid, and I think that speaks volumes. Several WR’s make me happy, and a starting calibur CB would suit me fine as well…..Im ready for this thing to get done, so we can finish talking about what MIGHT happen, and start talking about how to make it happen.

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  12. I wonder if Speilio is working to deal one of the 1st rounders a la the Jared Allen deal. Hmm.

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