Vikings Hand Out a Historic Contract to an Undrafted Free Agent
Following the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings began the process of signing undrafted free agents. In all, their class of UDFAs includes 15 players, including Army pass rusher, Andre Carter II. On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that the Vikings have handed out a historic contract to the undrafted free agent.
As reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Vikings agreement with Carter contains a fully guaranteed base salary of $300,000 and a $40,000 signing bonus. It is one of the most lucrative deals for an undrafted free agent that we’ve ever seen.
This contract is a sign that the Vikings believe Carter can make the final 53-man roster this fall. The belief is not unwarranted as heading into the 2022 season, Carter was coming off one of the country’s most impressive seasons for a pass rusher in 2021.
During that 2021 season, he recorded 59 pressures and 15 sacks over the course of 13 games, per Pro Football Focus. His pass-rushing grade of 93.4 was tied for second in the FBS alongside Aidan Hutchinson, who went on to be the second overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
However, Carter’s production fell off a cliff in 2022, largely due to added attention from opposing offensive lines and a midseason injury that forced him to miss two games. The injury went undisclosed, but he didn’t look like the same player for much of the closing stretch of the year. In all, over 10 games, he recorded 23 pressures and 4 sacks in 2022, essentially a third of his production from 2021.
Injuries aren’t necessarily new to Carter, either, which should be the main concern (along with a thin 6’5 and 265-pound frame) as he heads to the NFL. A back injury in 2017 caused him to miss most of his senior season of high school.
That being said, especially early on, Carter won’t be expected to bear the brunt of the load for Minnesota’s defense. The Vikings have a few very talented pass rushers on their roster, even if Za’Darius Smith were to be traded at some point this summer, in Marcus Davenport and Danielle Hunter.
Assuming Carter makes the roster (which could still be a big assumption at this point) he’ll have the benefit of being able to slip through the cracks unnoticed, and that is when his ridiculous athleticism could wreak havoc on an opposing backfield. One thing is clear, though: the Vikings are putting a lot of faith in the undrafted free agent with this contract. He is going to have to live up to all that faith during training camp.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.