One of the biggest stories of the third day of the 2016 NFL Draft was the Minnesota Vikings' selection of German wide receiver Moritz Böhringer in the sixth round at #180 overall. But, if the Vikings had gotten their way, that moment wouldn't have happened.
Because they would have signed him prior to the draft instead.
According to A.J. Mansour of KFAN-FM in Minneapolis, the Vikings made a play to sign the German star before the NFL Draft. There were numerous teams that were interested in him, and Minnesota attempted to get a jump on the rest of the field.
Mansour explained the difference between the signing of Böhringer and last year's signing of offensive lineman Babatunde Aiyegbusi, who was not subject to the draft.
When he was signed by the Vikings in 2015, Aiyegbusi was 26 years old. International NFL rules designate each interested player a "draft year" which is four years out of high school. As you can plainly see, Aiyegbusi was roughly eight years out of high school. At 22 years old, Boehringer falls directly within his "draft year". One year earlier, he would not be eligible. One year later, free agency is the path.
So there's the answer to that question.
It also explains why people shouldn't be quite so quick to dismiss Böhringer simply because of the failed experiment with Aiyegbusi last season. At age 26, to borrow a phrase, Aiyegbusi pretty much "is what he is." His technique was lacking, he wasn't ready to stand up against NFL defensive lineman, and he had pretty much reached his ceiling. Böhringer, on the other hand, is a bit more malleable at age 22 and is better equipped to pick up some new habits that could aid him in his goal of playing in the NFL.
He's still a longshot to make the roster, I think, but not nearly as much of a longshot as "Babs" was last season.