Here’s your chance to officially cast a vote regarding the Manti Te’o drama:
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If the Vikings draft Manti Te’o tonight it might not be the only Draft-related move that we’ve been calling for months now.
When profiling punter Ryan Allen, and then later Brad Wing, I outlined all of the various reasons the Vikings might send special teams coordinator Mike Priefer on the road to find a new punter this offseason. Kluwe’s $1.4 million salary chews up significant space (for a punter) in the last year of his current deal. He’s getting older and seems to be, at least slightly, regressing. There is some incredible talent and depth at the punter position available this year. Priefer also expressed last season that Kluwe’s off-field endeavours have been exhausting.
With the success Priefer had last year in sneaking in some visits with kicker Blair Walsh, who they then selected to replace Ryan Longwell, I felt that the timing made sense to attempt the same type of transition at punter.
And the signs are pointing to that being a very real possibility.
1500 ESPN reports that Priefer conducted at least three private visits with prospective punters prior to tonight. LSU’s Brad Wing, Arizona State’s Josh Hubner and UCLA’s Jeff Locke have all been worked out privately by Priefer, according to the report. These visits are unlikely to be a result of anything less than strong interest, because the Vikings already have a “camp leg” in the form of T.J. Conley on the roster.
Kluwe’s job is safe for one more day, but it appears he could be looking for work as soon as Sunday.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network set the rumormill on fire this morning when he indicated that the Chicago bears like linebacker Manti Te’o so much that the Vikings will have to leapfrog them in the first round if they really covet him, and then Rapoport said that’s what the Vikings plan on doing.
Now, we haven’t seen a whole ton of “smoke” coming out of Winter Park leading up to the Draft thus far, but I have a feeling that some games are being played here and Rapoport is simply a pawn.
We’ve been saying all offseason that Manti Te’o makes sense for the Vikings, and the Vikings make even more sense for Manti Te’o, but I am not sure this is the type of year the Vikings should be sacrificing multiple picks to trade upwards in the first round. This wouldn’t be the first time these two teams have engaged in some gamesmanship this offseason, as evidenced by the inflated contract Phil Loadholt signed during the opening days of free agency.
We’re only a few hours from speculation becoming reality (or fiction), but the Manti Te’o situation is certainly the one to keep a close eye on as the evening progresses.
I’m going to be honest with you, I’ve just about thrown in the towel on the whole mock draft thing this year.
It isn’t for a lack of preparation. It isn’t a lack of confidence in my evaluations. It isn’t for a lack of reading “this will 100% happen” or “there is no way that happens” from various media outlets or from fans. It certainly isn’t for a lack of caring.
I just find this draft class to be so incredibly unpredictable. The lack of quarterback talent will test teams with the need for a new one. The incredible depth at the defensive line and secondary positions makes it very hard to stack the talent with any conviction. With the Vikings now having two first round picks to work with, and a roster with plenty of needs, their draft possibilities seem even more endless than usual.
Setting all that aside, however, I now present you with my final 2013 NFL Mock Draft with just hours to go until the real thing goes down tonight.
I have decided to give the Vikings a well-known linebacker and an often-mocked defensive tackle, and the results in full can be seen right here.
Get ready for a wild evening, Vikes fans! We’ll be here all night to give insight and opinions as the action unfolds.
Don’t touch that channel!
When it comes to the NFL Draft I am pretty sure even Pinocchio would attempt to float a lie or nine if he were in charge of a war room.
Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman has been giving his obligatory pre-Draft interviews and anyone that knows anything about how this whole thing plays out knows you shouldn’t read too much into the what he says. Heck, last year he not only convinced a good number of fans that he might pick someone other than Matt Kalil, he convinced the Browns to move up one spot in exchange for a few picks.
This year Spielman is saying that he is unlikely to move up in the first round of the draft and has received numerous calls about the possibility of moving backwards from either the #23 or #25 spots. Some cynics (anybody know one?) might take his words to mean that he wants to move up in the first round and has received absolutely no interest from other teams about the possibility of trading back.
The thing about that, however, is this year Spielman’s comments actually make enough sense that you can’t help but believe him. The Vikings have enough needs on the roster that sacrificing quantity in an effort to move forwards in the first round doesn’t pass the smell test, and the way the quarterback class is shaping up this year could indeed mean he has already received genuine interest in his current picks from teams drafting at the top of the second round.
One thing I certainly don’t buy is Spielman’s insistence that he would feel comfortable heading into training camp with Erin Henderson as his top choice at the middle linebacker spot.
“No, that’s flexible,” said Spielman. ”That depends on what happens in the draft. If we go outside, Erin can slide inside or if we go inside Erin can play outside. That’s what is great about this linebacker thing. We have the flexibility to go either way.”
I know Henderson provides them with some flexibility, and has some experience at the position, but the Vikings just simply cannot have him starting anywhere other than on the weakside if they want to call this offseason a success.
Here we are less than 48 hours away from the greatest stretch of three days throughout the entire offseason and I can’t sleep. Obviously, I’m referring to the 2013 NFL Draft which takes place this Thursday evening. And unfortunately, the absence of sleep isn’t due to excitement regarding our two first round picks… It’s due to a nasty case of bronchitis and a sinus infection that leaves me coughing throughout the night. So, bear with me as I walk you through my third and final mock draft of the offseason and attempt to explain some of the decisions I’ve made (of which are bound to make at least a few Vikings fans squirm).
First, yes, I still do have Geno Smith going in the top 5. In fact, I have two quarterbacks being taken in the top 10. Here’s why and I’ve said it before: People can say anything they want about the lack of talent and a true franchise QB in this year’s draft but the truth is that teams over and over again have showed us that, on draft day, they are more than willing to reach on a quarterback that they think even has a remote chance of righting the ship (regardless of how delusional that thought may be).
Geno Smith to the Eagles isn’t that crazy. Their is a new head coach there who is going to be looking for someone that can run his new, fast-pace offense. Michael Vick is past his prime and has become a turnover machine. The Eagles selecting Smith and having the two face off in camp seems to make sense to me (and a few other people).
The next quarterback I have being taken (by the Buffalo Bills) also makes sense. The obvious connection with Nassib and coach Doug Marone is there from their time together at Syracuse. But, more than that, the Bills need to create competition at the quarterback position and it’s not a guarantee their guy (assumedly Nassib) will be there when they select in the second round. It’s possible, yes. But, unless they can somehow trade down, would not be surprised at all with this pick.
Alright, let’s get on to the important part, shall we? Our selections.
The Vikings have been handing out clues to registered fans regarding their new on-field look leading up to their Draft Party unveiling scheduled for Thursday. The website UniWatch, decided not to make fans wait and leaked a picture of new NFL uniforms a couple of days early.
I’m in full blown Draft mode, and certainly no fashion designer, so I won’t get into this much at all and instead just link to the leaked photo and let you discuss the changes as you please.
The Vikings still plan a more ceremonious unveiling on Thursday.