UNI's Karter Schult, right, closes in on Missouri State quarterback Brodie Lambert during a 2016 game in Cedar Falls.

DES MOINES — Things happen fast when you’re a ball-hawking professional football player named Karter Schult.

On the morning of April 2, the Salt Lake Stallions’ sack-happy defensive end woke up to the news that he was out of a job when the Alliance of American Football abruptly ceased operations.

Two days later, the Tripoli native and former University of Northern Iowa record-setting All-American had an agreement in place to sign with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.

On April 6, Schult was dancing up a storm in Sioux City after marrying college sweetheart Marissa Jensen.

And next Monday, he’ll begin offseason workouts with the Vikings’ veterans in Minneapolis.

All in all, it’s exactly the way Schult had it planned when he signed with the Stallions, although his football future changed directions a little quicker than anticipated.

“Personally, I lived it (the AAF),” he said Wednesday. “I loved my coaches and my teammates, we were treated very well, we were paid fairly ... Ultimately, I accomplished the goal I set out when I went to the AAF, which was to get another opportunity in the NFL.”

Schult excelled during his eight games in the league. He led the AAF in sacks through much of the season before eventually finishing third with seven in eight games.

“Honestly, I just wanted to show that I could play with anybody ... high draft picks in that league and former NFL players and really big guys that were said to be my kryptonite,” he explained. “I wanted to show my way works.”

Schult expected to generate NFL interest. He’s been there before.

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Signed by the NFL’s Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2017, he had 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks during limited opportunities in four preseason games. Yet the Browns released him.

Mini-camp invitations from the Vikings and Carolina Panthers followed. The Vikings didn’t have a place for him at the time, but Carolina signed him. Then after going through OTAs (organized team activities) and training camp, the Panthers cut him loose again.

Now he’s back for another chance with the Vikings, and he couldn’t be more excited about it.

“It was an amazing experience — a short one, but amazing,” said Schult. “When I was there I was treated great by the staff. The defensive line coaches and the defensive coordinator, their defensive scheme was something I fit really well into. I loved the way they coached and the way they coached me personally.

“Obviously, it stunk to leave, but I understood the situation they were in at that point. When I heard they were one of the teams interested in me, I was very excited to go back.”

Schult believes the time is right now.

“This time around, the coaching staff already knows me and knows who I am. They’re familiar with me and my game and what I do. I’ve had some talks with those guys and they have a plan for me and for what they want me to do.”

Of course, there are no guarantees. But as a product of 8-player football at Tripoli High School, Schult is used to having to prove himself.

“It’s a one-year deal and everybody has to fight and compete to make the 50-man roster in August,” he said. “I’m very familiar with that position. I think I tend to thrive in that position.

“Something about this time feels different to me. I think things are going to work out really well.”

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Sports Editor

Sports Editor for The Courier

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