Both the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears reportedly “love” Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.
Minnesota intends to select Te’o in the 2013 NFL Draft and will look to jump in front of Chicago via trade to do so, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
That is a very specific direct news leak. But why?
Smoke screen, possibly by BOTH teams.
Team officials will never divulge absolute interest in a player to the media if they intend to select them, especially mid- to late in the first round. By doing so, they are letting the whole league know their draft intentions.
What we do know is that both teams are looking for a middle linebacker, but we don’t know for sure which player each team has an eye on.
So why would the Bears say they “love” Te’o? If they claim to have interest in Te’o instead of a player they actually do want—like Arthur Brown or Kevin Minter—it’ll keep Minnesota from trading up to select a player they truly covet, or force Minnesota to trade up and take Te’o. Either way, Chicago has a better shot at getting their man.
On the flip side, why would the Vikings say they “love” Te’o? Maybe Minnesota really wants Brown or Minter, and by having leaked information saying they covet Te’o, maybe it makes Chicago think that maybe Te’o should be the guy they select. After all, Minnesota already did the necessary research on him—reportedly visited with him at least four times—and they did have a great draft last year.
That’s just two scenarios. Maybe Minnesota truly does have interest in Te’o and maybe the division rival Bears are just taking advantage of it by forcing Minnesota to trade away resources to do so.
One thing for certain, at least one team is blowing smoke.