CFL All-Star receiver Duron Carter, the 23-year-old son of Vikings Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, said he’s a different person than he was nearly two years ago when he failed to impress his dad’s old team during a rookie minicamp tryout.
“It really was just me finally learning how to be a professional,” Carter said Thursday while sitting on a plane bound for Minnesota and a Friday morning workout with the Vikings.
“Just handling the day-to-day business. Just staying focused. I’ve always been confident in my ability. I realized it’s about going out and taking advantage of it. It’s been a tough road, but I’m getting there.”
The 6-5, 205-pound receiver met with receivers coach George Stewart over dinner Thursday night. He said he already has had recent workouts with Tampa Bay, Indianapolis and Kansas City. He has nothing scheduled beyond Friday, but said he might also visit Carolina, San Francisco and Cleveland. He can’t sign with any team until next month.
“I can’t say what I’ll do after [Friday],” said Carter, whose NFL stock rose considerably in 2014 when he caught 75 passes for 1,030 yards and seven touchdowns for the Montreal Alouettes. “The right situation will come up, and I feel like I will know when that happens.”
In April of 2013, Carter was one of 30 players invited to a rookie minicamp. He was a tryout invitee, but didn’t receive a contract offer and went to the CFL, where he caught 49 passes for 909 yards (18.6) and five TDs in 2013.
“I like Minnesota and I’m familiar with the area and the team,” Carter said. “I like the direction the team is heading, and it would be a good opportunity to play with Teddy [Bridgewater]. I’ve known about Teddy because we grew up in the same area down in Miami.”
Carter, who was born in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., went to St. Thomas High School. Bridgewater went to Miami Northwestern.
“Teddy was a little younger, and we never played,” Carter said. “But I watched him play in the state championship one year. He’s a great player.”
Carter has been traveling a long road to prove that he can be trusted with an opportunity.
He went to Ohio State, his father’s alma mater, in 2009. He caught 13 passes, but missed the Rose Bowl because he was ruled academically ineligible. He transferred to Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College and caught 44 passes for 690 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games in 2010.
He transferred to Alabama in 2011, but poor grades kept him off the field again. Eventually, he was suspended for undisclosed reasons and transferred to Florida Atlantic. But he never played there, either.
Carter wore No. 13 during his rookie tryout with the Vikings in 2013. In the CFL, he wore No. 89. If he were to sign with the Vikings and ask for No. 80, he’d have to ask his dad for permission to wear it since it has been retired by the team.
“Nah, I wouldn’t ask for No. 80,” Duron said. “That’s my old man’s old number. It belongs to him. I was 89 in Canada. I might want to keep 89. It worked for me.”