EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Polish-born Babatunde Aiyegbusi went from obtaining a visa to travel to the United States to signing an NFL contract in a seven-day span.
The Vikings on Thursday announced they have signed the 27-year-old offensive lineman who played for the Dresden Monarchs of the German Football League in 2014, helping the team advance to the semifinals of the playoffs.
The previous season, Aiyegbusi helped the Wroclaw Giants win the championship in the Polish American Football League, or (Polska Liga Futbolu Amerykanskiego), despite never playing college football.
Aiyegbusi measures 6 feet, 9 inches and weighs 351 pounds, exceeding the metrics of 6-8, 343-pound tackle
A native of Olesnica, Poland, Aiyegbusi is the fifth Polish-born player in NFL history, joining kicker Rich Szaro (1975-79), kicker Chester Marcol (1972-80), defensive tackle Jason Maniecki (1996-98) and kicker Sebastian Janikowski (2000-present).
The Vikings hosted Aiyegbusi for a tryout at Winter Park on Wednesday, two days after he participated in a pro day hosted by the University of Texas-San Antonio.
Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com wrote about Aiyegbusi’s journey to the game’s highest level. Technology — in the form of highlight videos on the internet, as well as Skype to communicate with agent Jeff Griffin helped Aiyegbusi receive the opportunity to participate in pro day.
“He took up the whole screen man,” Griffin told Wright of the Skype conversation. “We talked. He told me his story, how he just wanted an opportunity to work out for people. I had three guys I represent down here at the University of Texas-San Antonio, and we had just gotten confirmation there would be 18 to 20 teams out for pro day. So I asked him what we needed to do about getting a visa to get him over here to the States. He said he’d find out.”
Wright reported that Aiyegbusi was able to obtain the necessary visa on March 19 and boarded a plan for a 22-hour flight that arrived in San Antonio at 3:50 a.m. Sunday. He went through drills that afternoon to prepare for the session that followed Monday in front of scouts.
“We went over those drills for about an hour and a half,” Griffin told Wright. “He got up Monday morning and performed those drills. So what you saw, that was raw. He had just learned the day before, then went out there and did it.”
The Vikings also announced that the club has waived LB Justin Anderson and G Jordan McCray.