BBAO: Vikings' due diligence on Manti Te'o

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: