Six weeks ago, the prospect of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o being available when the Minnesota Vikings make the 23rd selection in the 2013 NFL Draft would have been a ridiculous one. However, Te'o has had some issues since then, and his stock has taken a bit of a hit. (Of course, it helps that he and Georgia's Alec Ogletree appear to be matched in a game of "who can do the dumbest thing to blow up their draft stock.")
This week's NFL Scouting Combine is going to be interesting many players, but for Te'o in particular. Not necessarily because of what he does in the on-field drills, but because all 32 NFL teams will have an opportunity to sit down and interview him for the first time since the fecal matter hit the rotating ventilator in Te'o's personal life.
The Vikings are no exception to that, and General Manager Rick Spielman said that the Vikings would consider "everything" when doing an evaluation of Te'o.
"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."
"I still think you evaluate the whole body of work. You don't just evaluate off one game," he said. "That's a huge part of the decision-making process, to make sure you have the whole big picture in front of you to make that determination, just not one game. Because there are other guys you look at who had a poor game in Week 3 for whatever reason or maybe in Week 7. He just happened to have it in the biggest college game of the year, but I don't think that's a reflection of what he is as a total overall football player."
Now, it's very likely that the details of any interviews that take place at the Combine won't get to the public. But, that doesn't mean we can't pose the question anyway. If Te'o were to be on the board when the Vikings got on the clock at #23, would you want our favorite football team to gamble on him?