EAGAN, Minn. — It's been quite a journey for Karter Schult to find himself so close to home.
The native of Tripoli, Iowa, signed with the Vikings this spring, bringing him about three hours from his hometown, but only after training camp stops with the Cleveland Browns (2017) and Carolina Panthers (2018) and making the most of an opportunity in the Alliance of American Football.
Schult led the AAF with 49 quarterback pressures and ranked third in the league that lasted eight games with 7.0 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
He's gone from 8-man football in a town of about 1,300 people to Northern Iowa, to the NFL, AAF and back to the NFL. Schult said playing 8-man football helped his athleticism.
"It allowed me to not just play one position. For the most part on defense, I did play defensive line," Schult. "That's why I am the way I am now at it, but it allowed me to play a lot of different things on offense. I played fullback, tight end, offensive line. I threw the ball a couple of times. I was all over the place. Even on special teams, I was our kicker, so I really got to experience a lot. It made my love for the game increase even more."
Schult said familiarity with Chad Greenway's career that began with 9-man football in South Dakota helped his belief that he could make it to the NFL.
He credits his family and former coach at Northern Iowa, Bryce Paup, the 1995 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year and member of the 2000 Vikings, with being the biggest inspirations.
If Schult's journey sounds incredible, consider how his April started. The AAF folded on April 2, he got married on April 6, and the Vikings announced his signing on April 9.
Here are three other topics covered with Schult:
1. How long had you had your wedding date set?
"We planned it when I was with Carolina, so we were planning on the NFL offseason. … It was planned about a year in advance. We had the venue picked out. We couldn't change it. If you know anything about that, you can't get your money back, so we were just like, 'We're going to make the most of it, and if I had to miss an AAF game, that's what I was going to do.' Luckily, my team was going to help me."
But you didn't get to go on your honeymoon?
"Unfortunately, only my wife got to go. We had a big two-week trip in Italy planned. It was my idea, but that was right when the Vikings offseason program started, so I couldn't go. She went with a family member, and I got a bunch of pictures, blah, blah. We'll have to get a for-real honeymoon the next opportunity that we get."
Did you do much dancing at your wedding?
"If I don't have a bunch of friends around, I'm usually not a big dancer. I had a bunch of my friends from college and teammates, so I had no problem busting it down. But, you know, at your own wedding, you don't get a ton of time to actually dance."
2. What's the origin of your Instagram name, kartersauceee?
"People would always call me Tarter Sauce, just cause it rhymed. Eventually, instead of Tarter Sauce, they would call me Karter Sauce. I was looking for an Instagram name, 'I guess that will be it.' Now people will call me that or Sauce. It's not a bad nickname to have. It could have been worse."
And it has the extra Es on it, too?
"It was just KarterSauce, and last year, my account got hacked … I had to create a new one and wanted it to be the same thing, so I just put some extra Es on it."
3. I saw the video of you throwing axes. Had you done that before?
"I watch my fair amount of videos on random things in my free time. I watch this show called Forged in Fire on the History Channel, so I've seen people throw them before. I kind of just guessed and had a couple of practice throws, but it's all about the rotation. I could throw it as hard as I can, and it wasn't going to stick, but if you get that rotation down, it sticks and you look real cool."