Andre Carter’s measurables, athleticism and production caught the attention of Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell and his staff before the NFL draft.
So much that Carter, Army’s single-season sack leader and 2022 all-American linebacker, was ‘under consideration” to be selected by Minnesota “a couple of times,” O’Connell said.
Once Carter went undrafted, the 6-foot-6, 256-pound edge rusher became a priority free agent for the Vikings. Minnesota reportedly signed Carter to a guaranteed $300,000 contract with $40,000 signing bonus.
“We felt like we gained an extra draft pick with him,” O’Connell said during the team’s rookie minicamp last weekend. “When you watch him on tape, you see a guy who is arrow up and is going to ascend. How good can that be is what we challenge all of our guys here to really do.”
Carter was among three Army players competing at recent NFL rookie minicamps along with two-year captain and safety Marquel Broughton (Broncos) and defensive lineman Kwabena Bonsu (Jaguars).
The Vikings certainly seem to have Carter in their future plans. O’Connell talked about Carter adding to his pass rush and “move catalog” in the coming months during OTA’s and preseason. Those who follow the Vikings believe the trade of three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Za’Darius Smith to the Browns is a sign of how highly the Vikings think of Carter, who had 15,5 sacks his junior season at Army.
“For a guy like Andre, we are really looking forward to seeing him build,” O’Connell said. “Obviously, the career he had at Army but now, he’s a professional football player. He gets to focus in on that as his job and really thrive on that with some great coaching. He’s a great kid. I’m really excited to have him a part of our team and looking forward to see what he is able to do.”
Former Falcons scout Justin Schaaf mentioned on the Black Knight Nation podcast that Carter would be a good fit in Minnesota defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ scheme. O’Connell agrees.
“He’s got one of the best position coaches in the league in Mike Smith to do that and Flo has got a great plan for him and can’t wait to see him get a ton of reps in the preseason.”