Well, the Vikings found their big wide receiver in the draft.

Laquon Treadwell? Please. Old news.

Their big receiver comes from Germany. He didn't start playing football until 2013. He didn't play a single down of college football.

Moritz Boehringer became intrigued by American football at age 17 after watching videos of Adrian Peterson on the Internet.

Today, he's an NFL player. And Peterson's teammate.

Boehringer is as surprised as you are. "I hoped to be drafted," he said, "but you never know what happens on draft day."

Amen, Moritz.

The Vikings rolled the dice Saturday in the sixth round by making Boehringer the first straight-from-Europe player ever selected in the NFL draft.

Yeah, but can he play safety?

"That's kind of what the draft is all about, making dreams come true," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told NFL Network, showing his softer side.

The Vikings didn't just find Boehringer by throwing darts against the draft board. Or unfolding their world map. They attended his pro day at Florida Atlantic and invited him to their top-30 visit at Winter Park.

And YouTube. General Manager Rick Spielman mentioned watching Boehringer's clips on YouTube four times in explaining how they found him.

They did their homework, however thin the book is for a guy who grew up playing soccer in Germany and is relatively new to the sport.

"The first year was pretty difficult because I didn't really have an idea what I was doing," Boehringer said.

He started playing competitive football in 2013 with a German junior team. He joined the German Football League last season. He has played 40 games in his football career.

His bio states that the Schwabisch Unicorns "intended to develop him slowly." Imagine if the Unicorns had fast-tracked him.

Boehringer showed enough promise in Germany, winning Rookie of the Year honors, that he worked out for NFL scouts at Florida Atlantic's pro day.

He reportedly ran 4.43 in the 40-yard dash. He had a vertical jump of 39 inches. Those scores would have ranked high among wide receivers at the combine.

Boehringer is listed at 6-4, 229 pounds, so his test numbers made him more intriguing to teams.

"Big, physical, fast guy with good hands" is how he describes himself.

That's a good start, but he has to show he can do more than run fast, jump high and have a big body. The Vikings already have that in Cordarrelle Patterson.

Without the benefit of watching him against college competition, nobody really knows how Boehringer will handle the quantum leap.

Boehringer is a neat late-round draft story though, a pick acquired from San Francisco in the Gerald Hodges trade last season.

Maybe this gamble ultimately produces nothing more than a few offseason stories. But Zimmer doesn't strike me as man interested in gimmicks or wasted picks. He sees something in Boehringer worth exploring and trying to develop.

If Boehringer's choice was a surprise, the buildup to his selection resembled the Twilight Zone.

Boehringer was in Chicago for the draft and joined the NFL Network broadcast on set. He told the panel of analysts that his favorite team was the Vikings because of Peterson. At the end of the interview, analyst Mike Mayock turned to the camera and made a pitch to Zimmer and Spielman to take Boehringer.

"Let's hear his name come off the clock," Mayock said.

A few minutes later, they selected Boehringer.

Don't worry. Zimmer made it clear in a later interview that Boehringer was their target all along.

"It was really kind of cool … just seeing how happy he was," Zimmer said. "It was a touching moment."

Boehringer sounded a little overwhelmed by his new fame.

"Very busy," he said during a conference call with local media. "I had to do a lot of interviews."

Boehringer knows enough about the NFL that he answered without hesitation a question about his favorite receivers: A.J. Green and Julio Jones. He also has some familiarity with the Twin Cities. He visited last fall on vacation and attended the Gophers-TCU game.

Of course, he has a little insight into Peterson, the guy who piqued his interest in football.

"I heard he has a very strong handshake," Boehringer said.

He's already ahead of the game.

Chip Scoggins chip.scoggins@startribune.com