If I didn’t know better, I would say that Rick Spielman’s recent comments about Manti Te’o indicate that, at the very least, he is intrigued by the possibility of drafting Notre Dame’s star linebacker.
We have previously discussed the choice Te’o would present the Vikings if he were available while they are on the clock in April, and Spielman sounds like he is tuning in to the media coverage of the whole “fake girlfriend” thing to keep tabs on the situation. He admitted to watching Dr. Phil for the first time in his life when Te’o's prankster culprit, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, was being interviewed.
That tells me he is at least a little interested in Te’o.
“In the end, you’ll sit there and discuss all that,” Spielman said of the bizarre story. “Every team will make their own determination. How do you compare what happened, because he’s an extremely talented football player, against a guy who may have a drug issue or may have an arrest record or may have some other off-field issue? Everybody’s going to have, just like on any player, their difference of opinion. We’ll go through that process as well.”
He also says that the Vikings are aware of some details that have not yet been reported by any media outlets, which displays that they are doing their homework on the young linebacker.
Spielman says that the Vikings will evaluate the Te’o's “whole body of work” and that the odd story, as well as his poor play in the championship game, will only factor into their evaluation as a part of the whole.
Of all the players in this draft class, I suspect steam will pick up greatly in the next few week’s as far as connecting Te’o to the Vikings, and that might be exactly what Spielman wants to see happen.
What we know, however, is that the Vikings are either interested or pretending to be interested.