German Receiver Moritz Boehringer Drafted by Minnesota Vikings

German wide receiver Moritz Boehringer made history Saturday becoming the first international player to be drafted straight from a European league into the NFL.

In a move that is ironic to say the least, the Minnesota Vikings were the team who drafted Boehringer with the 180th pick in the sixth round. Boehringer had first stumbled across football four years ago in soccer-crazed Germany after happening to see a video of Vikings‘ running back Adrian Peterson by accident on the Internet. He will now be suiting up alongside the star running back. Talk about a movie script.

The rangy German receiver (6’5″, 225 lb) finished the 2015 season with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League who advanced to the German final thanks in part to Boehringer. But he had only started playing a couple of years before that.

“I searched for a team in Germany and found one in my hometown, but we only had seven players,” Boehringer (6-foot-4, 227 pounds) said during a recent studio appearance on the Move The Sticks Podcast with Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks. “We just practiced a bit, and after half a year we (found a full team) about 25 miles from my hometown and played there.”

He traveled to Florida to begin workouts on Feb. 29 but really grabbed attention with a head-turning performance at the Florida Atlantic pro day which had NFL scouts buzzing. That performance, in addition to his dominant Unicorns game tape, made him a highly-publicized Day 3 pick.

After making the selection Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was happy with his choice:

“That’s kind of what the draft is all about — making dreams come true,” Zimmer said  “He’s a really smart kid … he understands football and is able to repeat the different routes to us and things like that. Obviously, he has a lot of work to do, but it’s been fun.”

There was plenty of intrigue surrounding Boehringer during the later rounds of the draft with NFL Draft analyst Mike Mayock urging the Vikings on-air to select the German draft hopeful. In fact, during the TV broadcast Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer even placed a call to Mayock in response.

Highlights of Boehringer’s 2015 season with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns

Vikings have signed European players before

This isn’t the first time the Vikings have tested European players. Last season Minnesota took a chance on  massive Polish lineman Babatunde “Babs” Aiyegbusi. Although he didn’t pan out, obviously the Vikings saw the value of looking beyond traditional football markets for talent.

Source: NFL Draft News

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.