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Could Babatunde Aiyegbusi Wind Up On The Practice Squad?

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I saw this question come up in the piece we did about the Minnesota Vikings' issue at left guard, and I took a little bit to look it up and see what I could find.

One of the bigger stories from the early part of this offseason was the team's signing of Polish offensive lineman Babatunde Aiyegbusi to the 90-man roster. Aiyegbusi, a native of Poland, worked out at a Pro Day in Texas during the pre-draft process, and had an individual workout with the Vikings, after which they signed him to a deal.

Though Aiyegbusi obviously has a ton of physical gifts going for him, the odds of him making the team at this point appear to be kind of slim. However, there's a chance he could wind up on the practice squad, and those odds would increase greatly if the team could make use of an international provision that has been written into the CBA.

The language of that exception reads as follows, taken from Article 33 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (page 160 if you're looking for it):

(b) The League may elect to allow some or all Clubs to add to their Practice Squads one additional player, who shall not count against the limit above, whose citizenship and principal place of residence are outside the United States and its Territories ("International Player"). The League's election in any one season shall not determine or affect its election in any subsequent season. Such International Players shall be subject to the same terms and conditions of employment that apply to other Practice Squad players except that they (1) may not, during the term of their Practice Squad Contract, negotiate or sign an NFL Player Contract with any Club; and (2) may not practice with any Club following the last Conference Championship Game unless both Conference Championship teams have such a player. In addition, notwithstanding the provisions of Section 4 below, such International Player shall be eligible to serve on a Practice Squad for three additional seasons after the completion of the player's year(s) as an International Player. As set forth in Section 3 below, the weekly salary for such International Players shall not be included in the employing Club's Team Salary and shall instead be deducted from the calculation of the Salary Cap in the same manner as any Player Benefit Cost.

The bold part there could end up being key. I'm not totally sure when the last year the league allowed this provision to be used was. According to our friends at Pride of Detroit, the Lions applied for such an exception for kicker Havard Rugland (a native of Norway) in 2013, but were turned down by the league.

Since that time, practice squads have been expanded from eight players to ten, but the International Player provision, as far as I can tell, still exists. However, it appears to be something that is done at the discretion of the National Football League. . .which, if the past six or seven months have taught us anything, means that nobody has any real idea whether the Vikings would be able to use that exception to keep a player like Aiyegbusi around or not. It would be helpful if the team could keep him around to help him develop his technique to allow him to take a real run at making the squad in 2016. We'll have to see if the league will allow it to happen this year.