Former Army Black Knights edge rusher Andre Carter II has been named to the Minnesota Vikings’ 53-man roster to open the 2023 season.
After signing with Minnesota on April 29 as an undrafted free agent, Carter, who missed part of training camp due to an injury, finished his preseason campaign with seven total tackles and one quarterback hit. NFL teams had until 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday to trim rosters down to the mandatory 53.
Carter first exploded onto the radars of NFL scouts during the Army’s 2021 campaign, when he recorded 15.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, 17 tackles for loss and an interception. His sack total was the second-best in the country behind Will Anderson Jr., who was selected in the 2023 draft out of Alabama by the Houston Texans with the third overall pick.
The 2021 production prompted numerous NFL analysts to project Carter as an eventual first or second-round pick. That draft stock took a massive hit after his 2022 season, however, when Carter tallied just three sacks across 10 games, two of which came in a single contest. The Missouri City, Texas, native’s 20 career sacks rank second in the school’s history.
Carter, who measures 6-foot-7 and just over 250 pounds, brought a rare blend of physical ability and leadership to the Black Knight defense, Army head coach Jeff Monken told Military Times ahead of the 2023 draft.
“He is extremely talented,” Monken said. “He has worked relentlessly for this opportunity [and] has a tremendous professional career ahead of him.”
Carter’s spot on Minnesota’s roster marks another step in a football career that at one time appeared to be in serious jeopardy. In late 2022, Congress discussed reversing an existing policy that allows athletes from service academies to defer active duty service to play professional sports.
But following public outcry, lawmakers pivoted to allow academy students who enrolled before June 1, 2021 — like Carter — to continue under the old waiver rules. Two years of immediate service will only be mandated for students enrolled on or after that date. After his NFL career concludes, Carter must still complete a minimum of five years of active duty service and three years with the Army Reserve.
There are currently three West Point graduates who will open the season on active 53-man rosters. In addition to Carter, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Jon Rhattigan and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Elijah Riley made their respective teams.
The Minnesota Vikings begin their season on Sept. 10 with a 1 p.m. tilt at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Military Times reporter Jonathan Lehrfeld contributed to this report.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.