SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Casey Bauman and Blake Larson of the 2023 NSIC Champion Augustana Football team put pen to paper to pursue their NFL dreams on Saturday night. Bauman inked a free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Chargers and Larson will join him in LA after signing with the Rams.

Bauman, a 6-foot-7 graduate student from Sumas, Washington, quarterbacked the Vikings to their first outright conference title since 1959. He led the NSIC and was 13th in the country in passing efficiency while throwing for 2,878 yards and 29 touchdowns, both ranking in the top 20 nationally. He also added 322 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

Augustana University
Augustana University

After arriving in Augustana as a transfer by way of Montana State, Bauman operated 21 games under center, throwing for 4,160 yards and 43 touchdowns. His star shined brightest in a September game against USF when he threw for 326 yards and tied a school record with six touchdown passes to earn the Key to the City. He also added 45 yards and a touchdown on the ground on his way to NSIC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Augustana University
Augustana University

Larson, a 6-foot-7 senior from Brandon, South Dakota, concluded a career of 46 games played at Augustana by protecting a rushing attack that saw a running back eclipse 1,000 yards on the ground. He also held strong on the line that protected a quarterback that led the NSIC and ranked 13th in the nation with passing efficiency. He started all 13 games at right tackle and is a two-time NSIC Champion.

KSOO-AM / ESPN Sioux Falls logo
Get our free mobile app

After taking a redshirt his true freshman season, Larson blossomed into a mainstay on the AU offensive line. A team captain his final two seasons, Larson was named First Team All-America by the AFCA, Don Hansen Football Gazette and was a Elite 100 honoree while also earning First Team All-NSIC accolades as a senior.


Bauman and Larson are the first two Vikings to ink free-agent deals since Jake Lacina signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2020.

South Dakota Born NFL Players of this Century

While not a traditional powerhouse Nation Football League feeder, South Dakota has produces a fair number of football players that went on to the big time in the NFL.

Here are some that have played on various teams over the last couple of decades.

Most Valuable Franchises in American Sports

Five of the ten most valuable franchises in American sports come from the NFL.

Gallery Credit: Scott Prather

More From KSOO-AM / ESPN Sioux Falls