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Vikings take German WR in sixth round

MINNEAPOLIS -- Moritz Boehringer five years ago became a Vikings fan by watching Adrian Peterson videos in his native Germany. Now, the two are teammates.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Moritz Boehringer five years ago became a Vikings fan by watching Adrian Peterson videos in his native Germany. Now, the two are teammates.

Minnesota took the wide receiver in the sixth round Saturday with the No. 180 overall pick on the final day of three-day NFL draft. He became the first foreign player drafted after not having played at a North American college.

“It’s a dream come true,’’ said Boehringer, 22. “I’m happy that the Vikings picked me.’’

The pick was not a surprise. Boehringer and his agent, Kyle Strongin, had said before the draft the Vikings were showing great interest, and Boehringer had said he would sign with them as a free agent if not drafted.

The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Boehringer is raw. He played three years in Germany for a club team before last year catching 70 passes for 1,461 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Schwabish Hall Unicorns in the German Football League.

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“A lot of talent and a big receiver,’’ Boehringer said of what he brings. “(The Vikings) need a big target, and I think I can be the big target that they need.”

It was a busy day for the Vikings. They started the day with eight picks and finished with eight selections although they made trades with Miami and Philadelphia to move around the draft board.

Minnesota also selected Western Michigan offensive lineman Willie Beavers in the fourth round, Missouri linebacker Kentrell Brothers in the fifth, Texas-San Antonio tight end David Morgan in the sixth, Vanderbilt defensive tackle Stephen Weatherly in the seventh and Clemson safety Jayron Kearse also in the seventh.

The Vikings project Beavers as a guard and Brothers as a middle linebacker; they have been positions of need. Minnesota also needed a safety and got one in Kearse, whose uncle is former NFL defensive end Javon Kearse and cousin is former NFL cornerback Phillip Buchanon.

The biggest buzz by far came when Boehringer was selected. The native of Aalen, Germany, was generally unknown until he showed great athleticism at the Florida Atlantic pro day on March 31.

Boehringer, who had been a left wing in soccer, knew nothing about football until he went on YouTube in 2011 and clicked on some videos that had been recommended. He immediately became a Vikings fan and took up the sport, and soon he’ll get to meet Peterson.

“I heard he has a very strong handshake,’’ Boehringer said with a laugh. “I will be prepared for that.’’

General manager Rick Spielman said a “source” tipped the Vikings off about Boehringer in February shortly after the scouting combine. They then started their research by watching videos of him on YouTube.

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“We drafted him in the sixth round because of his ability and his upside,’’ Spielman said. “He has unique size, unique athletic skills.’’

Boehringer came to Minnesota this month to visit with the Vikings. He also was in the Twin Cities last September on vacation and watched the University of Minnesota play Texas Christian.

Later on that trip, Boehringer watched the New York Giants play at Dallas. He hardly realized then he would be in the NFL a year later.

“It was really a fun story,’’ Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said on the NFL Network. “That’s kind of what the draft is all about, making dreams come true. ... He’s a really smart kid. He understands English very well. He understands football. Obviously, he has a lot of work to do, but it’s still fun.’’

Boehringer’s all-time favorite wide receiver is Randy Moss, who played for the Vikings from 1998-2004. The 6-4 Moss was a big target, and Boehringer hopes to develop into Minnesota’s latest one.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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