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Updated: April 14th, 2013 8:24pm
Report: Vikings GM Rick Spielman dined with Manti Te'o before pro day

Report: Vikings GM Rick Spielman dined with Manti Te'o before pro day

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Vikings sure are getting a lot of face time with Manti Te'o.

General manager Rick Spielman dined with the Heisman Trophy finalist the night before his pro day workout last month at Notre Dame, Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported on Sunday.

That's in addition to the formal interview the Vikings conducted with Te'o at the NFL scouting combine in February and his visit to Winter Park for the team's Top 30 event a couple weeks ago.

It's no surprise the Vikings are doing their homework. They need a middle linebacker, and Te'o is widely projected as one of the top two available, along with Georgia's Alec Ogletree, though there are questions about his range and coverage ability.

There's also the matter of the national scrutiny that descended on Te'o after it was revealed the widely reported death of his girlfriend, who never actually existed, was part of a cruel hoax. Te'o has been adamant he didn't know he was being fooled.

"In the end, you'll sit there and discuss all that," Spielman said in February. "Every team will make their own determination. How do you compare what happened -- because (Te'o is) 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."

The fact the Vikings are loaded with Notre Dame players certainly couldn't hurt Te'o in the locker room. They currently have five on the roster: center John Sullivan, tight ends Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson and safeties Harrison Smith and Robert Blanton.

The Vikings own 11 picks in the draft, which begins on April 25. That includes picks Nos. 23 and 25 overall. Te'o is widely projected as a late first-round selection.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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