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NFL Mock Draft 2013: Vikings select Manti Te'o, Jamar Taylor

Minnesota picked up an extra first-round pick when they traded Percy Harvin. Is a controversial figure from Notre Dame the best possible return on that investment?

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The Minnesota Vikings "solved" one problem when they traded away disgruntled wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seahawks for three draft picks, including Seattle's first-round pick in next weeks draft. Adding Greg Jennings in free agency helps the Vikings lack of talent at receiver, but how will they use the 25th overall pick acquired to get the best bang for the buck of losing one of their most talented players?

Another controversial star could be the answer.

Minnesota is still in need of help in the linebacker, secondary, and receiver units, and that extra pick should help them fill those roles. One of the biggest names, if not the biggest, will be Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. Though Te'o's highly publicized controversy with a fake girlfriend put him in the spotlight for some time, he certainly did not have the same kind of media attention that Harvin had. One could assume that perhaps all of those troubles are behind Te'o and that he could help the Vikings from day one on their journey to a return trip to the playoffs.

Rob Rang of CBS Sports projected Te'o to the Vikings with the 25th pick in his latest mock draft:

The Vikings have a gaping hole at middle linebacker after allowing last year's starter, Jasper Brinkley to leave via free agency. Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman appears to have an affinity for Notre Dame players, as he's collected five of them, including trading back into the first round a year ago to nab free safety Harrison Smith. Lost in the bizarre off-field saga is the fact that other than the national championship game, Te'o had proven himself to be among the most consistent players in the 2013 class.

But that's not all the Vikings get to do in the first round next week. They also have their own pick, 23rd overall, and they also have another player to replace that is now with the Seahawks. When Antoine Winfield left Minnesota for Seattle in free agency, it left an opening in their secondary for someone to start right away. Rang projected cornerback Jamar Taylor from Boise State to be that guy:

Cornerback was an area of concern for the Vikings before they lost Antoine Winfield in free agency. Taylor, like Winfield, is a versatile, physical defender who'd help take away some of the sting of losing the veteran Vikings' head coach Leslie Frazier called "the glue" of the team.

With Te'o and Taylor on board, the Vikings defense could grow into becoming one of the best in the league. Though it would not completely make up for the loss of Harvin and Winfield, it would be a strong start and give Minnesota a lot of hope for 2013.

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Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.