Dallas Turner Keeps Getting Compared to One Mighty Player

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Maybe Dallas Turner will exude more off-ball linebacking tendencies than most believe?

Dallas Turner Keeps Getting Compared to One Mighty Player

The Minnesota Vikings welcomed Turner during the 2024 NFL Draft 13 days ago, and since, keynote coaches keep comparing Turner to three-time Super Bowl champion and two-time Pro Bowler Dont’a Hightower.

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Nick Saban, Turner’s and Hightower’s collegiate coach, kicked off the Hightower festivities right after Minnesota selected Turner. He said on draft night, “People keep comparing him to Will Anderson; he’s more like Dont’a Hightower. He went inside, he got outside, we stood him up, he’s a good rusher. He can take gaps inside. So I think the versatility is phenomenal.”

So, Vikings fans wallowed in knowing that the purple team secured an impact defensive player, even if the trade price for his acquisition was expensive.

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Then this week, Vikings defensive coordinator followed Saban’s lead and likened Turner to — you guessed it — Dont’a Hightower. Flores spent seven years with Hightower in New England, so if anyone knows his skillset, it would be Flores, who is conveniently now Turner’s defensive coordinator.

Flores mentioned the Turner-Hightower comp, “I was asked this recently. The name that comes to mind, and he was another Alabama player, is Dont’a Hightower. Big, fast, physical, great traits and intangibles, leadership. That’s the name that comes to mind. I would say he’s probably a little faster than Hightower.”

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And that’s all on top of Turner’s recent Defensive Rookie of the Year steam. Former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum picked Turner for 2024 DROY and opined this week, “Turner will have a lot of pass-rushing opportunities, which I believe he will take advantage of. I thought he should have gone as high as No. 8 to Atlanta because he has the double-digit sack total ability.”

ESPN’s Jordan Reid followed suit on the DROY theory: “Playing in Brian Flores’ defense, Turner is a perfect match, as he will likely be used at multiple spots. His first-step burst and continued expansion of his array of pass-rush moves set him up for early success. Expect Turner to be moved around quite a bit and receive many opportunities to make plays in multiple ways.”

Dallas Turner Is
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The next question regarding the Turner-Hightower comp is how truly similar the men might be. Hightower never tabulated more than six sacks in a single season, often used more in the middle of the field than on the defensive line’s edges. Surely, Minnesota has pass-rushing plans in store for Turner, so the Hightower comp will have to play out in living color this autumn, at least per full estimation.

Hightower last played in the NFL in 2021.

Turner and Hightower both attended Alabama.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.