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Moritz Boehringers storybook journey to
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Every NFL player's journey to the NFL hastwists and turns.None is as unique this season asthat of receiver Moritz Boehringer, the Vikings'sixth-round pickwho never played college football and is the first player ever drafted straight from Europe.Boehringer was discovered by shocked NFL scouts at the Florida Atlantic University Pro Day on March 31. He played last season for the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns in the German Football League and was Rookie of the Year with 70 catches for 1,461 yards and 16 touchdowns. Impre sive numbers, yes, but the GFL is a far cry from the NFL. Adding to the story is the fact that this is a player who has only played football for four years after originally practicing American football once a week with friends.He was discovered by former NFL Europe player Aden Durde, who now works for NFL UK as a scout searching for international talent. Durde became aware of Boehringer's strong play in the GFL and arranged for him to go to Florida for two weeks of training.MORE: 18 NFL impact rookies |Examining Vikings' draft picksAt 6-4 and 225 pounds, he blew scouts away at the FAU Pro Day with his results:4.43 40 yard dash, 39-inchvertical leap and close to an11-foot broad jump. He completed 17 reps on the weight bench andposteda great time (6.65 seconds) in the three-cone drill. If he had posted these numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine, Boehringerwould have ranked in the top five Michael Hoomanawanui Jersey among wide receivers in every drill. He also caught the ball well but NFL GMs know well to beware of the workout warrior. I've always said that the NFL scouting proce s is a very expensive exercise in over-analysis. The laundry list of activities to stay attentive to include:college games, practices, the Senior Bowl and other all-star games, the Combine, Pro Days, player visits to team facilities, medical checks and rechecks andinterviews ad nauseam.And then an unknown player such as Mo Boehringer emerges from far off the beaten path.It's really a breath of fresh air and a great story for a league that has had to deal recently with several bad apples who get an inordinate amount of attention. Players such as recent first rounders Laremy Tunsil with his bong video and Robert Nkemdiche with his allegeddrug and alcohol-induced incident at an Atlanta hotel. Not to mention the well documented horror stories of Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson.I've always said that 98 percentof NFL players are good guys doing the right things on and off the field. Unfortunately the bad seeds can skew the public image of a league and its players. Boehringer looks to be one of the good guys and a positive story. He has worked his way from a league in the GFL that is a blip on the NFL radar screen, perhaps similar to Division III college football. And now he has an opportunity to make NFL history with his favorite NFL team.The aforementioned Peterson is the player that attracted Boehringer to the Vikings and American football. After growing up as a soccer player like most Europeans, a big part of his introduction to American football came from watching You-Tube highlights of Peterson."I just like his style Cameron Jordan Jersey of play, his physicality and my favorite team is the Minnesota Vikings because of Adrian Peterson," Boehringer told the German website, Spox.MORE: Every NFL team's offseason to-do listBoehringer was on the Vikings practice field for the first time last week at rookie minicamp and showed his deep speed on several routes. Laquon Treadwell is the hotshot first rounder who is being counted on to lift quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings' pa sing game to match the prowe s of Peterson and the running game. But Boehringer is the intriguing prospect and project foroffensive coordinator Norv Turner and wide receiver coach George Stewart.Boehringer, 22,has a Garrett Grayson Jersey lot to learn about life as an NFL receiver, such as how to play in a traditional, non-spread offense counter to his GFL experience."I played lots of spread offense in Germany with four receivers on the field," he said. "It's tough to compare that to the NFL because in the GFL quarterbacks mostly operate out of the shotgun so that part is definitely different. But the routes are similar and overall it's still football."Yes, Mo, but now you've got to beat corners such as Richard Sherman, Josh Norman and Patrick Peterson.Boehringer received some good tutoring before his Pro Day from NFL vets Pierre Garcon and Anquan Boldin, who gave him tips on beating pre s coverage (something he did not regularly face in the GFL) and route running. He admits that blocking is a new element for him "since I rarely did that in the GFL." His idol Adrian Peterson will expect the rookie receiver to utilize his size and strength to be an effective downfield blocker.Late-round rookies also must contribute on special teams and Boehringer showed his speed and strength in getting past defenders when he lined up as a gunner on punt coverage at Vikings minicamp.It won't be easy for Boehringer to immediately contribute as an NFL receiver given his lack of football experience. There have been many players who tried to make it in the NFL with limited or no college football experience,and most were overwhelmed by the mental and physical demands of the sport.Early in Coby Fleener Jersey my career with the Vikings, we signed Willie Spencer, who was reputed to be a stud running back after leading the World Football League in rushing before it folded in 1975. Spencer had not played college football before joining the WFL and he never could pick up the nuances of the Vikings offense. He also haddifficulty staying healthy. His Vikings career totals were4 carries for 2 yards before he moved on to the Giants for two more years (with 100 total carries in New York for a 2.4 yard average).Hopefully Boehringer's career will be more like that of Ray Seals, a defensive end who didn't play college football and after stints in the football minor leagues, he wound up as an eight-year NFL player with 32 career sacks for Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Carolina. Seals was a starter in Super Bowl XXX for the Steelers. But heat least grew up playing football unlike Boehringer.It will be fascinating to watch the Boehringer story further unfold. One thing for certain is that he has a multitude of international football playersand German players in particular cheering for him to become the NFL's version of Dallas Mavericks star and fellow German Dirk Nowitzke.To that, Boehringer says "Nowitzke is the biggest German basketball idol there is. I am a long way from being anywhere close to that. But you never know."


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