With rosters at 90 players across the NFL, there are plenty of players making long shot bids for a chance to stick with a team into the regular season.
Offensive lineman Babatunde Aiyegbusi is one of the longest of those shots. The Vikings signed the massive (6-9, 350 pounds) Polish blocker, who has played professionally in Poland and Germany after taking up the game at 18, this offseason following a workout and one of the things he’s learned so far is that being bigger than everyone isn’t the same advantage in the NFL as it is in Europe.
“I consider myself as a smart guy, so I feel like I can handle the playbook,” Aiyegbusi said, via the Associated Press. “But still, in Europe, my physique was good enough for beating everyone. And down here, you guys are big and strong. And they’ve got good technique. If he’s not stronger than you, he’s probably got better technique and knows what you will do before you do it, actually.”
Aiyegbusi says he’s trying to “catch up” with his more seasoned teammates, something that’s made harder by working with a playbook that’s in English. Offensive line coach Jeff Davidson says Aiyegbusi has been “completely coachable,” but added that it’s a process that requires patience because they can’t teach him everything at once after starting from square one.
If the Vikings continue to like the potential they see in Aiyegbusi, he’ll likely land on their practice squad coming out of camp so that they can continue to build his game in hopes that he makes an impact in the future. If not, he promises to take everything he’s learned and go “back home one day and then teach” other Poles about football to help the game grow in his homeland.