We're Black and Blue All Over:
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o has now had confirmed pre-draft visits to three of the four NFC North markets. Does that mean he has a good chance of landing in our division in a couple weeks? Not necessarily.
It's true that the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings are in the market for a middle linebacker, but there are more reasons for a team to seek additional time with Te'o than there are for most draft-eligible players. Teams get brief opportunities to speak with players at the NFL scouting combine and even at pro days, but the best time to have a controlled and detailed discussion about Te'o's role in a well-publicized online hoax is during a visit to the team's facility.
Te'o participated in the Vikings' recent top 30 event, while the Lions hosted him earlier this week. He visited the Bears within the past few weeks, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. There usually isn't a correlation between visits and players a team drafts. All we can say at this point is that the NFC North has interest in getting more information on Manti Te'o.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald thinks the Te'o visit was a smokescreen for the Bears: "There’s a good chance the Bears brought Te’o in just to convince other teams, mainly those drafting behind them, that they’re interested in taking the defensive player of the year."
There will be more pressure on the Green Bay Packers' offensive line when quarterback Aaron Rodgers signs his new contract extension, writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers were initially leaning toward releasing defensive end Johnny Jolly upon his NFL reinstatement before deciding to keep him on the roster to see if there is a chance he could contribute in 2013, according to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The Vikings have set the dates and times for their preseason schedule, notes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.
Minnesota state legislators are looking for a Plan B to finance the Vikings' new stadium, according to Jim Ragsdale of the Star Tribune.
The Lions might not have the opportunity to draft either of this year's top two left tackles, notes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Justin Rogers of Mlive.com profiles Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan, a possible pick for the Lions at No. 5.
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: "It's perhaps mildly annoying that even though the Lions have taken a wide receiver in each of the last four drafts, two in the second round and one in the third, and committed $25.9 million in payroll to the position last season, they still find themselves a receiver or two, or three short. But general manager Martin Mayhew remains undaunted."