Promising Young Viking Starts Summer on Inactive List

Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman James Lynch (92) performs a drill at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings had a busy Monday to start training camp week.

The club signed two players, TE Colin Thompson and OG Jack Snyder, while waiving WR Malik Knowles.

Promising Young Viking Starts Summer on Inactive List

In addition, Minnesota placed undrafted free-agent EDGE rusher Andre Carter II on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Viking Starts Summer
Nov 26, 2022; Amherst, Massachusetts, USA; Army Black Knights outside linebacker Andre Carter II (34) warms up before a game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports.

Carter II now hits the shelf indefinitely and will miss an undetermined portion of the Vikings training camp and preseason. Minnesota grabbed headlines late in April by signing the UDFA.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted about Carter II after the draft, “One of the biggest commitments ever to an undrafted free agent: The Vikings signed former Army edge Andre Carter II to a deal that includes a $40,000 signing bonus and $300K base salary guarantee. A sign they believe Carter can make the active roster.”

With the substantial heft of guaranteed cash for a UDFA, Carter II seems to be in the driver’s seat as a part of the Vikings future. Otherwise, the signing bonus and base salary would’ve been less, and Carter II’s trajectory would be that of ‘just another guy.’

Nov 12, 2022; Troy, Alabama, USA; Army Black Knights outside linebacker Andre Carter II (34) during the second half against the Troy Trojans at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports.

Carter II was projected as a 4th- or 5th-Round prospect during the lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft, like his new teammate and linebacker Ivan Pace Jr., but both men missed out on a formal draft pick. Instead, they became Vikings via undrafted free agency.

The young defender tallied 14.5 sacks in 12 games at Army in 2021.

Sep 17, 2022; West Point, New York, USA; Army Black Knights outside linebacker Andre Carter II (34) tackles Villanova Wildcats running back DeeWil Barlee (28) during the second half at Michie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports.

The consensus on Carter II’s lack of draft attention was a bit mysterious, but most believe his size — or perceived lankiness — discouraged general managers from taking the plunge. His strength may need enhancement as an NFL pass rusher, although Army moved Carter II all over the defense.

The Black Knight also garnered attention on Bruce Feldman’s famous Freak List heading into the draft. Feldman wrote about Carter II, “What a gem Army found at Connecticut’s Cheshire Academy in Carter, at the time a two-star tight end prospect. Now a 6-7, 260-pound senior with a 6-10 wingspan, Carter piled up 18.5 TFLs, 15.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 2021.”

Why 1 Unsung
Dec 10, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Army Black Knights outside linebacker Andre Carter II (34) reacts after a play against the Navy Midshipmen during the first half of the 123rd Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA Today Sports.

In Carter II’s stead at training camp, reservist EDGE rushers like Luiji Vilain, Benton Whitley, and Curtis Weaver are likely to command attention in the Vikings defense — in addition to Danielle Hunter (who may not show up at camp), Marcus Davenport, D.J. Wonnum, and Patrick Jones II. The club parted ways with 2022 defensive coordinator Ed Donatell in January and hired Brian Flores in February to lead the new defense.

The nature of Carter II’s injury is not immediately known.

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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