Consider the wheel like a gyroscope, but spinning on its side. It will want to continue to spinning vertically, like a gyroscope would horizontally. If you give the gyroscope a good enough jolt, it will wobble around until it finally uprights itself, which you can make happen quicker if you stabilized it by hand. The wheels react similarly, and the suspension, and steering system helps to stabilize it.
Another reason to get to the tie rod ends is that you don't want to be driving down the road and suddenly having one of your wheels pointing sideways.