Long snapper Overbaugh signs with Vikings, due to play Sunday

December 26, 2017

Jeff Overbaugh football

Jeff Overbaugh

On Christmas Eve he was unemployed, watching football on TV. On Christmas he was on an airplane headed to Minneapolis for a tryout with the Minnesota Vikings.

For New Years Eve, Anchorage’s Jeff Overbaugh will celebrate as an NFL player.

It’s been quite the holiday season for the 24-year-old rookie, who today was signed to the active roster by the NFC North division champions and is expected to make his debut with the Vikings when they host the Chicago Bears this weekend.

“As far as I know I’m the long snapper for the Vikings this Sunday,” he told me. “It’s definitely exciting. A dream come true.”

He will wear jersey No. 44 and be on the field for special teams: punts, field goals and PATs.

Overbaugh, of Service High fame, will be the 11th Alaskan to play in the NFL, joining a small fraternity that includes Daryn Colledge, Chris Kuper, Zack Bowman, Rocky Klever, Tom Neville, Mark Schlereth, Shane Bonham, Travis Hall, Reggie Tongue and Mao Tosi.

Overbaugh played in three NFL preseason games in 2016 with the Los Angeles Rams. He was also under contract with the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos.

The Vikings were the 11th NFL team he worked out for this year.

Despite not sticking with a team, the 6-foot-2, 240-pounder never lost hope of his dream.

“I don’t know what the record is for NFL workouts in a given year, but having a relatively high amount and obviously being under contract three times was a good sign,” he said.

The former San Diego State star was a perfect long snapper for four years in college. He converted all 510 snaps on special teams, but went undrafted.

The Vikings turned to Overbaugh after their regular long snapper suffered a shoulder injury in Week 16’s win over Green Bay. With the playoffs around the corner, they needed a reliable replacement.

The team called Overbaugh on Sunday morning when he was making breakfast burritos. He flew to Minnesota on Monday afternoon. He worked out this morning and signed a contract this afternoon.

His parents will be at Sunday’s game to watch their son take the field as an NFL player for the first time.

“I believe they already have their flight,” Overbaugh said, “so all I gotta do is make sure there are tickets for them.”