Vikings New EDGE Rusher Is Built like a Monster

TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minnesota. August 3rd, 2023. The Vikings kicked off the annual night practice in front of a packed house, preparing to defend the NFC North title. Minnesota hasn't won back-to-back NFC North crowns since 2008 and 2009.

The Minnesota Vikings employ Danielle Hunter and Marcus Davenport as prospective starting EDGE rushers in 2023. Barring injury, Hunter and Davenport will bookend the team’s defensive trenches.

But in the backdrop, a monster-like human being lurks, on pace as a fixture to the Vikings roster for the long haul.

Vikings New EDGE Rusher Is Built like a Monster

He’s Andre Carter II, and folks either mislabeled his scouting report or the man bulked up in the last four months.

Here’s Carter II at training camp on Thursday night next to Hunter.

Rusher Is Built
Danielle Hunter (left) and Andre Carter II (right), Vikings outside linebackers in 2023 at Training Camp in Eagan on August 3rd, 2023. Hunter joined the Vikings in Round 3 of the 2015 NFL Draft. Carter was an undrafted free agent in 2023.

Carter II began training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list this summer, and it is unclear when he’ll fully return to team activities. But like many of the Vikings young newcomers, including undrafted free-agent linebacker Ivan Pace Jr., the franchise is high on his long-term trajectory.

The Army alumnus curiously wasn’t drafted in April, prompting Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah to scoop Carter II off the UDFA wire for an unprecedented price of $300,000, plus a $40,000 signing bonus. That degree of cash suggests Minnesota wasn’t dinking around to secure the defender for 2023 and beyond.

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports.

And during the 2023 NFL Draft lead-up, some called Carter II ‘lanky,’ and perhaps that was the reason for his undrafted outcome. Dynasty Nerd‘s Mitchell Blatt described Carter II in February, “Carter is raw. His lanky body makes him unwieldy and susceptible to cut blocks. He might not be a three-down linebacker from day one, but he can work on these things at the NFL level. He has already made improvements to his tackling at the collegiate level. His missed tackle rate dropped from 27.3% to 21.2% to 10.3% in subsequent seasons.”

That’s fine and dandy — and maybe the pass rusher was indeed skinny or something of the sort when the calendar flipped to 2023.

But not anymore.

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports.

To the naked eye, Carter II is the same size as Hunter — also a ginormous man — if not bigger. So, either oodles of draft scouts fumbled the assessment of Carter II’s build, or the man blossomed into Bruce Banner early this summer. Something’s gotta give; Carter II is no longer too lanky — he almost looks too muscular.

Meanwhile, the Vikings employ Hunter and Davenport as the showstoppers in 2023, but neither man is committed to the roster after this season. They’ll both be free agents in March if Adofo-Mensah does nothing. Theoretically, Carter II has a pathway to grab playing time as early as 2023 — or 2024 when the EDGE rusher personnel turns to slim pickings.

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports.

If you live in the Twin Cities, slide down to Vikings training camp. It will only take a day. Take a glimpse or two at Carter II amid your travels. With the snap of two fingers, you will find that the man is no longer too lean for outside linebacker. That’s actually laughable.

Carter II tallied 14.5 sacks at Army in the 2021 season — in 12 games.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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