Much is being made about a recent report from Peter King noting that Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman dined with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o on the eve of the college’s pro day. The Vikings also reportedly interviewed Te’o at the Scouting Combine and invited him to their “Top 30″ event at Winter Park.
Some are going to take the seemingly excessive vetting process as a sign of the Vikings level of interest in Te’o, but it may be a better indication of the level of concern teams have with Te’o's plentiful question marks. I have been spouting off all offseason about how much sense a marriage between the Vikings and Te’o makes, and I don’t mean to send mixed signals here, but I would caution the readers of VT to not read too much into these visits.
The truth is that the Vikings probably have some level of interest in the players they have interviewed, including Te’o, but are trying to dig as deep as they can into some of these red flags to try and find out which ones are worth the investment of a high draft pick. The list of attendees that visited Winter Park, or at least the ones we know about, should be all the evidence you need to consider these visits as the Vikings simply doing their due diligence with guys carrying some baggage.
Manti Te’o: The whole fake girlfriend thing.
Alec Ogletree: Injuries and arrests in the past.
Keenan Allen: Worrisome knee injury.
Tyrann Mathieu: Dismissed from LSU, history of drug issues.
We have profiled each of these prospects as we view them as potential targets for the Vikings later this month, and their visits make sense, but how the visits went is far more important (and secretive) than the fact that these guys visited.