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Vikings sign undrafted free-agent Army OLB Andre Carter II

Army outside linebacker Andre Carter missed out on having his named announced in the 2023 NFL Draft, but his dream to become a professional football player is alive and well.

Carter was signed by the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday as an undrafted free agent, the team announced. NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that Carter signed a deal that includes a $40,000 signing bonus with a $300,000 base contract -- one of the biggest commitments ever to an undrafted free agent, Pelissero noted.

Perhaps it was symbolic that Carter went undrafted, as little has come easy for the edge rusher in his journey to the NFL.

Thanks to President Joe Biden signing the 2023 omnibus appropriations bill on Dec. 29, 2022, the Army product can defer service until after pursuing his NFL career. Military academy graduates are usually required to fulfill two years of active-service duty after they've graduated.

Carter's gridiron hopes seemed to be dashed when a small section in the U.S. military's annual budget had language preventing the deferment of service. However, lawmakers worked to change the bill in the aftermath of public outcry. The revised bill passed through the Senate and House before Biden's signing.

Now, Carter is headed to the Vikings.

A native of Missouri City, Texas, Carter tallied 25 starts in 33 games played at Army, registering 20 sacks, 25.5 tackles for loss and 99 total tackles.

Carter was seen as a potential top-50 prospect at one point, but the 6-foot-6 1/2, 256-pounder struggled at the NFL Scouting Combine, in particular posting just 11 reps on the bench press, and then posted a 4.91 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Though he's hardly a slam dunk to make the reigning NFC North champions' roster, he's overcome obstacles before and will look to do so again as he takes a step closer to making an NFL roster.

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