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Bleacher Report – Vikings

At Vikings practices, Moritz Böhringer showed how far he still has to go

By Andrew Krammer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — There’s at least one player who wasn’t so excited about Mike Zimmer’s reward of cancelling practice on Thursday.

Citing a strong work ethic from Vikings players, Zimmer scrapped the third and final minicamp session, which sent them into a six-week break. It’s not a light message from the head coach who, at the end of last year’s training camp, became displeased with a lack of effort and made the entire roster run a lap.

By noon, an empty players’ parking lot screamed school’s out. Though rookie receiver Moritz Böhringer wasn’t so quick to take a break from Winter Park. He spoke with some reporters before most players arrived for an alumni barbecue later in the day.

“I wanted to practice,” Böhringer said. “Because it’s always good to get some more reps.”

Böhringer, the Vikings sixth-round draft pick from Aalen, Germany, physically looks like he belongs on the NFL practice fields. His 6-foot-4-inch size and 4.41 speed have shown best in areas like special teams. Though as soon as the first rookie minicamp session back in May, it was clear how far he’d have to go. First getting the sense of an American football practice, Böhringer needed a break under a 90-degree sun to throw up on the sideline.

Dropped passes have been a common sight, including three during one of the OTAs open to media. Having never played college football, he’s starting from farther back than most late-round picks. Böhringer said his German Football League offense only ran five or six formations and about 70 plays. The difficulties aren’t just in volume of a NFL playbook, but the nuance needed to follow a strict set of rules while competing against the best athletes he has ever faced. And meetings! Böhringer said his German team wasn’t big on those.

“He’s a big, physical athlete,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. “He can run. He’s starting from way, way, way behind. He’s catching up. Everything happens extremely fast for him, but he’s got physical skills.”

Böhringer, 22, said he’s settling in after first showcasing his talent for NFL scouts just this spring. Off the field, he hangs out with fellow newcomers in quarterback Joel Stave, linebacker Jake Ganus and tight end David Morgan II. On the field, he’s had 12 full team practices in shorts, a jersey and helmet.

“I think, especially in the last few days,” Böhringer said. “I’ve gotten more comfortable with the playbook and I’ve just improved everyday.”

The addition of Böhringer is a few things. It’s a feel-good story for a young player who was introduced to American football through YouTube highlights of Adrian Peterson. So, the Vikings became his favorite team and five years later, they were viewing his highlights on YouTube. There’s also a benefit to the league in global reach, as Böhringer is the first international player to jump directly from a European league to the NFL. It’s also another example of a front office’s trust in its coaching staff to develop raw talent.

The Vikings created a logjam at receiver with two recent first-round picks (Laquon Treadwell, Cordarrelle Patterson) working with the second-team offense behind Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs. That’s not counting two reliable targets in Jarius Wright and Adam Thielen. Last season, the Vikings carried six receivers on the 53-man roster.

Böhringer still has adjustments ahead to break into that group, or the practice squad. He’s yet to practice in pads, which he will shortly after players report to training camp on July 28 in Mankato, Minn. On those fields, he’ll first face everything at full NFL speed, including press coverage. And about two weeks in he’ll get a change-up as the Vikings and Bengals are set for two joint practices before the Aug. 12 preseason opener.

“I have no idea what to expect,” Böhringer said. “We will see in training camp.”

The post At Vikings practices, Moritz Böhringer showed how far he still has to go appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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