John Hunter's dream came true early Sunday evening when the Minnesota Viking selected the 6-foot-8, 300-pound Brigham Young lineman as their third-round choice in the NFL draft.

Hunter was the 80th pick overall in the NFL draft."I'm thrilled," he said from his home in North Bend, Ore. "I was a little tense watching the draft on TV and I had to go outside and throw a football around to calm down."

The only other local player drafted through the first four rounds was Weber State quarterback Jeff Carlson. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Carlson went to the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth round as the 102nd pick overall Sunday.

In this morning's session, Utah State quarterback Brent Snyder and Aggie wide receiver Kendal Smith were taken in the seventh round. Chicago made Snyder the 192nd pick while Smith was taken by Cincinnati two picks later. In the eight round, New England took BYU defensive back Rodney Rice with the 210th pick, and the L.A. Rams chose BYU offensive tackle Warren Wheat with the 215th pick.

Hunter said he was pleased the Vikings had drafted him.

"It would be nice to play closer to home, but, really, I don't care," he said. "I just wanted to go to a winning program. I was a bit surprised that Minnesota drafted me because, although they had shown interest in me, the L.A. Raiders seemed most interested. In fact, the Raiders even flew me to Los Angeles to have a CAT scan done on my back."

Immediately following Minnesota's selection, Viking coaches contacted Hunter by telephone.

"They told me that I had a good chance with them," he said. "They said they have no depth on the line and one of their guys is getting old. They told me that I would come in and be a back-up and maybe a starter soon."