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How low will Manti go?

The Vikings have a need at linebacker, but Kiper warns that Te’o isn’t likely to be there when they pick 23rd

By Jon Krawczynski

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:26 p.m. HST, Apr 23, 2013

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. >> The Minnesota Vikings have two picks in the first round of the NFL Draft and one big hole in the middle of their defense.

The Vikings have vowed to find their starting middle linebacker in this year’s draft, and the famous-for-more-than-football Manti Te’o could still be on the board when they’re on the clock with the 23rd and 25th selections Thursday night.

The Heisman Trophy runner-up from Notre Dame, whose school-record seven interceptions last season made him a national story well before the hoax about his fake girlfriend was revealed, could be a good fit in Minnesota. The Vikings, after all, took three of his former Fighting Irish teammates over the last two drafts and have five guys from Notre Dame on their roster.

“It would be perfect for what they do there,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said, comparing the Punahou graduate’s skill set to that of former NFL middle linebacker Chris Spielman, the brother of Vikings general manager Rick Spielman.

But while many mock drafts have Te’o pegged in purple, Kiper said on a recent conference call with reporters that he doesn’t believe Te’o will be available at No. 23.

“If you want Te’o, you have to probably move up a little bit,” Kiper said, adding: “It’s really whether they want to roll the dice or not.”

Spielman has suggested he’s not worried about whatever risk Te’o might bring. It’s a unique set of obstacles to navigate.

Spielman said he didn’t see the due diligence required to research Te’o any different than that for other players.

“In the end, you’ll sit there and discuss all that,” Spielman said recently. “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?”



>> Wednesday: The Star-Advertiser’s Curtis Murayama will be on the Bobby Curran Show on KKEA, 1420-AM to talk NFL?Draft, starting at 6 a.m.

>> Thursday: Look for the Star-Advertiser’s annual mock draft in the Sports section.

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joewilly wrote:
No later then the second round. Forget about his past shortcomings. Whatever team needs an inside linebacker will give him a shot. Rookies don't make the huge bucks like before, so money is not the issue. He is not going to make enough to buy mommy and daddy a new house in Kahuku.
on April 23,2013 | 05:06AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Yeah, no later than second round. And, he better concentrate on buying himself a house or apartment.
on April 23,2013 | 06:42AM
boshio wrote:
First round pick for sure. Just hope its on the west coast so easier to go see a game.
on April 23,2013 | 06:45AM
loquaciousone wrote:
I hope he likes cold weather because it sure gets cold up by the Great Lakes.
on April 23,2013 | 08:24AM
Valleyisle57 wrote:
Ummm, did you notice where Notre Dame was located????
on April 23,2013 | 02:30PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Manti had four years of proving his stock and one game will not destroy it. He will do well and shut up all the naysayers.
on April 23,2013 | 07:22AM
jussayin wrote:
Funny title to the article, how LOW will Teo go. My guess is he'll be in the first round but he's questionable to be a star in the NFL although he should be able to hold a backup LB position. He should make at least $500,000 a year plus a signing bonus that can be a few hundred thousand dollars. I think you can buy a decent house for that : ) Hey, he hired a super expensive public relations person during his off field reality story. He must have some money to have done that ... or a sponsor (?)
on April 23,2013 | 08:38AM
loquaciousone wrote:
The way I read it means that Minnesota should not wait for their pick if they want to draft Manti. They need to trade up because Manti will not go that low.
on April 23,2013 | 09:52AM
lowtone123 wrote:
Te'o will go first round. Minnesota, Chicago & Baltimore all need middle linebackers. If Alec Ogletree goes off the board early, then Te'o may go sooner.
on April 23,2013 | 09:10AM
mishtah wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on April 23,2013 | 12:50PM
Bdpapa wrote:
You're killing me, have a good day :)
on April 23,2013 | 02:04PM