We're Black and Blue All Over:
We discussed the possibility of the Minnesota Vikings drafting Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o as recently as last Friday, and over the weekend, Sports Illustrated's Peter King added a more grist to the mill. According to King, Te'o had dinner the night before the Notre Dame pro day last month with Vikings general manager Rick Spielman.
The Vikings need a new middle linebacker, and at the very least we can say they have thoroughly investigated Te'o. In addition to the private dinner, they spoke to him at the NFL scouting combine and hosted him on a visit at their practice facility.
The Vikings have a deep history with Notre Dame players under Spielman, who has drafted four of them -- center John Sullivan, tight end Kyle Rudolph, safety Harrison Smith and safety Robert Blanton -- while also signing free-agent tight end John Carlson last year. Te'o is considered by many media analysts to be a late first-round pick, and the Vikings have picks at No. 23 and No. 25.
We must always be on the lookout for smokescreens this time of year, but it's hard to believe that even "Crazy Rick" Spielman would go to such lengths to feign interest in a player.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune examines Adrian Peterson's quest for 2,500 yards in 2013.
The seventh-round draft pick the Vikings got from the Seattle Seahawks in return for receiver Percy Harvin was originally acquired from the Buffalo Bills for quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, notes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
As we await word on the contracts of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews, the Green Bay Packers will gather Monday for the first day of their offseason program. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more.
The Packers will have a retirement ceremony for former quarterback Brett Favre "some day," Favre said in a radio interview via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith signed his restricted free-agent tender so he would be eligible to participate in the offseason program, notes Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The Chicago Bears are hosting Missouri outside linebacker Zaviar Gooden on a visit, notes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.
The Bears also hosted Olympic discus thrower Lawrence Okoye, who is trying to make it as a defensive lineman, on a visit, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Matt Bowen asks several questions of the Bears as they approach a voluntary minicamp this week.
According to linebacker D.J. Williams, the Bears were planning to sign him whether or not middle linebacker Brian Urlacher returned. More from Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Birkett on the Detroit Lions' negotiations with quarterback Matthew Stafford: "Both sides want it to happen, both sides need it to happen, and it makes sense for both sides to get something done before the start of the season."
Stafford is ready to make this team his own, according to retired place-kicker Jason Hanson via Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
There have been indications the Lions might draft a tight end this year, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.