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Andre Carter gets his opportunity with Vikings

Photo by Margaret Kite/Black Knight Nation

Andre Carter’s football journey is a story of beating the odds.

Carter didn’t have an FBS offer coming of Ridge Point High School in Missouri City, Texas. A projected tight end, Carter took the prep school route, attending Cheshire (Conn.) Academy.

Army switched Carter to linebacker and he spent the first year on the Black Knights’ scout team. He rose to a starter, the academy’s first all-American and potentially Army’s first NFL draft pick since 2008.

The NFL draft and 259 picks passed Saturday without Carter’s name called Saturday, presenting the 6-foot-6, 256-pound linebacker with another test.

Carter’s next challenge will be for the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent. Minnesota announced Carter had agreed to terms about an hour after the draft.

“I just kind of feel like I’ve always been the underdog and I’ve always had to prove myself,” Carter said on Friday before the second round. “That’s something I’ll bring to the NFL. I’m going there to prove myself just like I have my whole life. That’s something I’ve been looking forward to.”

Many regarded mock drafts had Carter projected as a first-round draft pick in the preseason following his academy-record 15.5 sacks in 2021. Carter’s stock fell when a bill in December 2022 introduced by Wisconsin congressman and former Marine Mike Gallagher changed a service-academy athlete’s path from directly to the NFL to two years of active duty before their release. Carter would be grandfathered into deferring his service time later that month.

Surprisingly, Carter would go undrafted considering the amount of attention he received from scouts during the 2022 season and Army Pro Day in March. Thirty NFL scouts from 27 teams attended Carter’s Pro Day. Carter, who played through a back injury his final season at Army, finished the draft No. 2 on Mel Kiper’s best available players. Carter was trending as high as No. 5 in Twitter Saturday night.

“So proud of Andre and happy for him,” Army coach Jeff Monken tweeted Saturday night. “Certainly worthy of being drafted but all he needs is an opportunity. He’ll make the most of it.”

Carter gets his shot in Minnesota with new defensive coordinator and former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. Now, Carter will follow the path of an undrafted free agent like his former Army teammates Cole Christiansen (Chiefs linebacker), Jon Rhattigan (Seahawks) and Elijah Riley (Steelers).

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