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Could it happen? Will Te'o drop?
OK, let's have some fun here. Last year the Vikings moved up to draft Harrison Smith and thus far appears to be a deft move. So, could it be the Vikings will move up should Manti Te'o drop?
There are two schools of thought here. One, Te'o seems to be a Ray Lewis type in terms of his inspiration, motivation and desire, but then there is the national championship game where Te'o looked lost at times, missing tackles and not having the type of impact a player of his status should have.
However, it's not all on Te'o, though. At last check there are 10 other players on that side of the ball and Bama dominated every aspect of the game.
So, Te'o is the great debate of this draft. Will he go high or drop? I can't say for certain. I do think the Vikings, should Te'o drop, will be very interested in him, but again, it all depends on where he ranks on their draft board compared to other players they are looking at for that No. 23 spot.
The Vikings have higher priorities than MLB, but it's hard to resist when a player drops into your lap and the Vikings have benefited from that in the past: Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin.
The Vikings defensive front did a lot of rotating this year so it's hard to say how they will look at this position in the draft. Some draftniks have the Vikings looking at DT in the first or second round, while others have them looking mid rounds for a run stuffer.
DT Louis Nix has decided to return to Notre Dame for 2013, but had he come out I am sure the Vikings would have taken a very long look at the 6'3", 326-pound run stuffer. He was a projected second-round selection for this year's draft.
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore, according to several draft websites, is projected as a late-round draft pick or free agent. Given the Vikings depth at that position right now, I think it would be a stretch for the Vikings to consider Lewis-Moore other than bringing him in as a free agent should he not get drafted.
Here is where it might get interesting.
Two Irish defenders on the back end look intriguing: Zeke Motta, S, and Jamoris Slaughter, S.
Zeke Motta is almost a Harrison Smith redux. He is 6'2", 215 and has similar attributes of Smith. He's not as fluid and his redirection needs work. The 4.62 40 is somewhat of a concern, but there is no doubt the Vikings might show considerable interest because there is something to be said for combining Smith and Motta.
I would like to have seen more plays out of Motta this past year, but his strong point is run support, and that bodes well for him. He had 75 tackles with 0 INTs and 0 sacks. But Smith did not have that great senior year either, so body of work does matter. Motta projects as a late-round pick, but a surprising combine could elevate his stock.
Jamoris Slaughter is rated as a free-agent type. He is the 43rd-ranked player at his position, so it looks like Slaughter is more suited to be a special teams player if he is going to have an NFL career.
So, of the likely defenders, Te'o and Motta stand out as possible Irish wearing purple next season.
The question is an interesting one: will the Vikings pull the trigger on another Notre Dame player in the upcoming draft?
It's hard to say given the players who are available and what the Vikings need. If I had to put my money on who would be wearing purple, I'd go with Motta and/or Riddick.
What say you?