View Full Version : Rookie knows adversity, and it's not football (Great Article on Jason Carter)

08-21-2006, 10:18 PM
Rookie knows adversity, and it's not football


Jason Carter has dealt with tough stuff in his life, and he puts the game into perspective. That attitude just might help him.
Judd ZULGADjzulgad@startribune.com
Last update: August 21, 2006 – 9:38 PM

Jason Carter knows what it means to face adversity. He knows all about that anxious feeling that can cause your stomach to feel like you're on a roller-coaster ride even though you're standing still. And trying to win a spot as a receiver on the Vikings roster doesn't come close to fitting either of these definitions.
"When you come out here this is a chance to be free," Carter said after the morning practice Monday at Winter Park. "This is a chance you get to hit people, people get to hit you, you get to show how competitive you are. This is easy."

Carter's words carry no bravado, only life experience. At 23 years old, he can speak of adversity and anxious moments without mentioning football.

That's what happens when your 21-year-old brother already has served a tour of duty in Iraq and is due to head back in a few months. That's what happens when, within a three-year period, your great uncle, who is one of your best friends, dies because of complications from diabetes and another uncle passes away because of cancer. That's what happens when you spend the weekend of the NFL draft waiting to hear your name called, only to be left wondering what happened.

These recent events molded Carter into a competitor who badly wants to stick with the Vikings. But unlike many players his age, it's easy for him to put trying to make an NFL roster into perspective.

"This is not adversity at all," Carter said. "You have to put some more challenging things in my life before you can call it adversity."

Carter's outlook might be why he has been one of the most impressive rookie free agents in the Vikings camp. In Saturday's preseason victory over Pittsburgh, he caught two passes for 48 yards, including a touchdown. His other reception went for 42 yards. He also returned three punts for 8 yards, although he did fumble one before recovering.

With Koren Robinson possibly facing a yearlong suspension from the NFL after a drunken-driving arrest last week, Carter appears to have a legitimate chance to win a spot. He has been moved from the third to second team, and his versatility, not to mention ability, has not been lost on coach Brad Childress.

"He has position skills to be a receiver," Childress said. "He has been decent with his routes and depths, and those kinds of things. He's a smart guy, a bright-eyed guy, and also he's also been able to catch a punt, because there is nothing easy about that. It's not just as a safe catcher, but he has a little bit of wiggle after he catches it."

Seeking a good evaluation

Carter, who entered Texas A&M as a quarterback before being moved to running back and eventually receiver, said it's "unfortunate," what happened to Robinson. Yet, he knows this gives him an opportunity.

"Anytime you come out on the football field and you know you're going to be evaluated you have to perform," he said. "Bottom line. Coach says you're going to be evaluated in every way, and all I want to try to do is put good work on film so I can be evaluated."

As Carter goes through training camp, his only brother is in California getting ready to return to Iraq this fall. Jason and Matthew Carter were raised in Texas by their mother, Laquita, who supported the close-knit, three-person household. Matthew Carter's first tour of duty in the United States Army began right after he graduated high school in 2002. Recently married and the father of a newborn daughter, Matthew re-enlisted to help support his family.

Jason Carter knows that with or without football, there will soon be anxious moments in his life again.

"When you have a family member that is in the Army and fighting the war, football becomes secondary," he said. "You worry about it the whole time. ... You just have to try to stay strong. I talked to him a little, let him know I love him. He told me don't worry about it. He said, 'Just play football and do what you've got to do.' But that's my little brother. He thinks he's the big brother anyway. You just have to try to stay strong."

08-21-2006, 10:37 PM
This kid has looked pretty good.
From what I've seen, I think he'll end up making the team.

I've kinka been partial toward Hoag, and Hosak, cuz they're both home-grown, but I just wanna win, win, win!!!!!!!

08-21-2006, 10:38 PM
I really hope this kid makes the team.
I've heard he has made some pretty amazing catches in camp and he played pretty well against Pittsburgh.
Hopefully there will be room for him and Hoag with Robinson's soon departure.

08-21-2006, 11:57 PM
honestly, i really think the kid could be something really good sometime down the road...

the 3rd coming of a carter in minnesota?

lets hope so =)

08-22-2006, 09:07 AM
I like all our WR's fighting for that roster spot or 2.
I guess that is about the only good thing I can take out of the whole K-Rob thing is that it will probably open up a roster spot for Hoag or Carter

08-22-2006, 09:42 AM
Kasper looked really good in the 1st preseason game and I was hoping to see how he would do returning kicks and as a receiver, but he has been sidelined with a high ankle sprain and that has given Carter a chance to get more playing time and he has looked good but I would still like to see how Kasper does and hope he plays in the Baltimore game on Friday.

Mr. Purple
08-22-2006, 10:56 AM
I really hope the Vikes keep this kid around.He shows alot of promise.The next "Carter"? lol

jussssssssssssst kidding!

Del Rio
08-22-2006, 11:08 AM
It's guys like this that make me say we don't need Lelie. There is young talent that when given the opportunity will make a name for themselves. Hopefully he continues to make plays and can make the team and play for the team.

Going out and signing a guy like Lelie who hasn't set foot in a Vikings camp is only hurting our team in the long run. There is young talent that can develop fast enough to make an impact and improve over time.

No more bandaids work within the program. If there is a superstar or a real workhorse sign em up, otherwise do some actual coaching and teach these amazing young talents how we roll.