It looks like the NFL’s marketing push in Europe may be paying off as the Minnesota Vikings picked Germany’s Moritz Boehringer in this weekend’s draft, making him the first NFL player drafted from Europe, and his journey of how he got into the sport is even more surprising.
22-year-old Boehringer, from Aalen, Germany, had zero American football experience before sitting down to watch a few YouTube videos highlighting the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson. Pushing soccer aside, the 6-foot-4 athlete joined a junior youth team in 2013 and quickly rose to the top of the German Football League, winning the rookie of the year award for his impressive 2015 season with the Scwabisch Hall Unicorns.
“I didn’t really have an idea of what I was doing”
During a conference call with reporters, Boehringer spoke of his recent entrance into the sport, saying, “The first year was really difficult, because I didn’t really have an idea of what I was doing.”
His impressive rise to fame story, along with an even more stunning performance at the Florida Atlantic’s pro workout day in March, caught the attention of quite a few NFL teams, leading the Minnesota Vikings to pick up the German wide receiver in the draft’s sixth round.
“We spend a lot of time trying to look under every rock,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said after picking Boehringer. “When we get a hint that someone might have the ability to play in this league, that’s our job to go out and uncover it. He was off-the-charts smart.”
Those smarts payed off so far as in a period of less than five years, Boehringer went from learning football by watching Adrian Peterson on YouTube to joining the very same player now as a teammate.