The Vikings have crossed international waters in their pursuit of offensive-line help.
The Vikings announced today that they have signed 27-year-old offensive lineman Babatunde Aiyegbusi, a 6-foot-9 native of Olesnica, Poland. They have listed him as a tackle for now.
Aiyegbusi, who did not play college football, spent last season in the German Football League. He played in the Polish American Football League in 2013, winning a title with the Wroclaw Giants.
His name is pronounced bah-BUH-tune-day ah-YEG-boo-see. (Have fun with that, Paul Allen.)
The Vikings hosted Aiyegbusi at Winter Park on Wednesday, two days after he participated in a pro day at the University of Texas-San Antonio. He inked a contract with the team today.
The Vikings say Aiyegbusi is the fifth Polish player in NFL history, following defensive tackle Jason Manieki and three kickers — Rich Szaro, Chester Marcol and Sebastian Janikowski — into the NFL.
At 6-foot-9 and 351 pounds, Aiyegbusi is an inch taller and eight pounds heavier than right tackle Phil Loadholt, who himself is one of the biggest men in the NFL. You can see him in action here.
The Vikings also announced they waived linebacker Justin Anderson and guard Jordan McCray.
You can buy a “legacy brick” with a commemorative inscription to be placed inside the new Vikings stadium. This kind of thing isn’t new; in this case, it isn’t cheap: anywhere from $160 to $360, depending on the size and type of brick you want.
A lot of Vikings fans will likely be into this. They’ll want to have a family message — perhaps a deceased loved one who was a big purple fan — or some such thing. This is the intended target audience.
However: there is a feature on the site that suggests:
Not sure what to put on your brick? CLICK HERE to test your inscription on a live Minnesota Legacy brick and see what others are putting on theirs.
And this is where Twitter has decided to take over. Nick Halter from Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal appears to be the one who started the #VikingsBricks hashtag on Twitter. From there, the clever (and some not so clever) folks took over with their own personalized inscriptions for the Vikings, which they then posted for the world to see. Here are some of the best/worst (at least of the printable ones), depending on how you want to look at it. The Vikings, to their credit, appear to be enjoying the fun, too.
— Parker Hageman (@ParkerHageman) March 26, 2015
pic.twitter.com/sdBTtujYjt — Steve Neuman (@RandBallsStu) March 26, 2015
— David Brauer (@dbrauer) March 26, 2015
.@dbrauer #VikingsBrick pic.twitter.com/n8UC6xL0cb — Andy Welter (@trtx84) March 26, 2015
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) March 26, 2015
Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday that he thinks there's very little chance state lawmakers -- or the public -- would support a taxpayer subsidy to build a soccer stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Any state involvement would have to be minimal, he said.
Twins pitcher Phil Hughes walked just 16 batters in more than 200 innings last season. The natural question: Was he using Jedi mind tricks?
Probably not is the only logical answer, though the Twins are not dispelling the notion. They are using Hughes as a focal point of their Star Wars promotion for a May 4 game against Oakland (Yes, that means you can say “May the fourth be with you,” but if you say it too much you will get punched).
There is a “Hughes The Force” bobblehead giveaway (yes, another pun, but pretty clever), in which Hughes looks like a cross between a Jedi master and The Dude from Big Lebowski, which is actually pretty accurate.
The Twins do offer this disclaimer: While we encourage fans to come dressed in their favorite STAR WARS™ attire, please be advised that any props resembling firearms or weapons of any sort, fictional or not, will not be allowed into the ballpark. We kindly ask that you adhere to the policies in place at Target Field and respect the safety of all in attendance.
And the Twins put together a promo video, a remake of a Star Wars trailer.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick reportedly went a profanity-laced tirade during a recent a meeting with NFL officials, blasting them for not wanting to spend the money to put cameras on the goal lines during games to help determine touchdowns on close plays.
He is, of course, correct (and it’s rather humorous to think of a coach who often comes across as dry, wearing his hoodies with sleeves cut off, yelling swear words at a bunch of NFL suits).
The NFL’s apparent argument against the cameras is cost, which is ridiculous. Nothing is out of reach, cost-wise, in the NFL. Per ESPN.com:
The source said Belichick expressed concern that the league is willing to spend top dollar to send the Pro Bowl to Brazil and play regular-season games in London every season but doesn’t appear willing to spend the money to pay for the extra cameras it would take to cover all end zone angles to assist instant replay.
Belichick had a similar message when speaking to reporters, though he toned it down a bit.
“It’s disappointing every year we can’t afford that, as a league,” Belichick told reporters Tuesday. “They brought that up as a concern. It was kind of surprising to hear that.”
Seriously. Spring for some cameras, NFL. Your commissioner makes more than $40 million a year. You can afford it.
The replay angles now are off-center, making it hard to truly tell if the ball has broken the plane. For something as important in a game as whether a play is a touchdown or not, investing in cameras shouldn’t be that difficult of a decision to make.
The frenzied first two weeks of free agency have come and gone, and several teams — including the Vikings — spiced things up by wheeling and dealing through trades. Soon the focus will switch, if it hasn’t already, back to the 2015 NFL draft, which begins five weeks from today.
The draftniks are already looking ahead, of course, and have started to publish post-free-agency mock drafts to reflect how team needs have changed. Still, with the Vikings picking pretty early with the 11th overall pick, not too tremendously much has changed in front of them.
That’s why when checking out the latest mock drafts, you will still see the same familiar names being mocked to the Vikings. The two most prevalent are wide receiver DeVante Parker, a popular man in our first mock draft roundup, and cornerback Trae Waynes, the go-to guy in the second.
A couple other prospects are being linked to the Vikings, though, in these notable NFL mock drafts:
Josh Norris, Rotoworld: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State. “There was a report that Waynes dealt with cramps or a leg injury, which led to poor change of direction drills at the Combine,” Norris wrote. “Waynes has makeup speed, but my question is the separation he allows on breaks. Mike Zimmer has a history of being connected to defenses that invest picks and/or money in corners.”
Bucky Brooks, NFL Network: Waynes. “Mike Zimmer wants an ultra-athletic bump-and-run corner to pair with Xavier Rhodes on the perimeter,” Brooks wrote. “Waynes has impressed evaluators with his speed and explosiveness in drills. He also has solid game tape to back up his credentials as one of the top cover corners in the draft.”
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville. “Reunited and it feels so good. Teddy Bridgewater and DeVante Parker are back together making beautiful music, this time in the NFL,” Miller wrote. “Parker is more than just a familiar face for Bridgewater, though. He’s a legitimate No. 1 receiver prospect. Parker is 6’3″, 209 pounds and can move with a 4.45 in the 40. He’s also an exceptional jump ball player who can win in the end zone with size and physicality.”
Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Brandon Scherff, OG/OT, Iowa. “Charlie Johnson and Vlad Ducasse were bad a year ago and Joe Berger is best served as a first man off the bench,” Edholm wrote. “Brandon Fusco’s return helps, and perhaps 2014 draft pick David Yankey can play eventually. But the bull-strong Scherff could be a Day 1 starter inside or at right tackle once Phil Loadholt is dumped (his contract is up after 2016, but he could be cut after this season without a major hit).”
Dane Brugler, CBS Sports: Waynes. “Wide receiver and offensive line are strong possibilities with this pick, but the Vikings also have a need at cornerback,” Brugler wrote. “Waynes has the speed/size combination that will land him in the top 15 picks and Minnesota has shown interest.”
Charles Davis, NFL Network: Parker. “Reunion time in the Twin Cities,” Davis wrote. “Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater gets a college teammate as a big-time playmaker on the perimeter.”
Rob Rang, CBS Sports: Landon Collins, S, Alabama. “Reuniting Teddy Bridgewater with his play-making receiver DeVante Parker is awfully intriguing but so is adding a heat-seeking missile like Collins to pair with Harrison Smith in the secondary,” he wrote. “Given the passing attacks in the NFC North and head coach Mike Zimmer’s defensive background, Collins makes a lot of sense.”
Jamie Newberg, Scout.com: Waynes. “I have had Trae Waynes to Minnesota in most of my mock drafts and I am sticking to it,” Newberg wrote. “I just wonder if this former Michigan State star drops to No. 11? I have my doubts but if he’s there for the Vikings this would be a terrific landing spot. Waynes is the top cornerback in this class and is coming off an outstanding combine and pro day.”