The Minnesota Vikings announced Thursday the signing of offensive tackle Babatunde Aiyegbusi, an undrafted free-agent tackle, who never played college ball but most recently spent time in the Polish American Football League and the German Football League.
Listed at 6-foot-9 and 351 pounds, Aiyegbusi, whose name is pronounced bah-BUH-tune-day ah-YEG-boo-see, caught the eye of Minnesota's scouts during a pro day workout Monday at the University of Texas-San Antonio, which led to a Wednesday workout at the team's facilities.
"It's just surprising to me. I'm just so grateful of the opportunity the Vikings gave me. I'm aware that this is the real deal, that I have to prove myself," said Aiyegbusi, who goes by the nickname "Babs." "I'm ready to do it. I was dreaming [of this moment], and actually practicing back in Poland going every day to the gym, I was thinking 'If I would have been born in the States, I would have an easier opportunity to get there.' But I'm not. They told me [the NFL] would never happen, but it did. I'm very happy."
A native of Olesnica, Poland, Aiyegbusi most recently played for the Dresden Monarchs of the German Football League. Aiyegbusi helped the Wroclaw Giants in 2013 win the Polish American Football League championship.
Interestingly, Aiyegbusi performed drills for scouts at UTSA's pro day Monday having just learned how to actually do them Sunday afternoon, after arriving at 3:50 a.m. from a 22-hour flight from Poland. Aiyegbusi's agent, Jeff Griffin, said the offensive tackle spent approximately an hour and a half learning the football drills he'd be performing the next day for scouts.
"For the Vikings I was a little stressed just getting off the plane, stepping into the locker room and seeing all those names I know from the TV, and from watching NFL games from the Internet," Aiyegbusi said. "When I was putting the Vikings gear on myself, I was thinking that this is the time to shine. There are a lot of things I've still got to work on. [The coaches] want me to work on my quads, with my legs, my hips. They want me to work more with the strength coach. So we'll just see where we're going to go from here."