ESPN Ultra-High on One Vikings Rookie

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The Minnesota Vikings regular season gets underway in about four months, but until then, fans will monitor the development of the 2024 rookie class.

ESPN Ultra-High on One Vikings Rookie

Minnesota utilized Round 1 of the draft to select quarterback J.J. McCarthy of Michigan and outside linebacker Dallas Turner from Alabama. Few figured both men were attainable, as general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was expected to trade his 1st-Round assets for a quarterback of the future. But on draft night, McCarthy tumbled to pick No. 10, where the young executive pulled the trigger on a trade with the New York Jets — while keeping his 23rd overall pick in-house. He then picked Turner after an expensive trade to the 17th spot with the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

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And according to ESPN’s Jordan Reid, Turner was his favorite selection of the entire event. Each ESPN draft analyst was asked to identify a favorite pick from the event, and Reid, nominating Turner, explained, “Edge rusher Dallas Turner to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 17. Minnesota hasn’t drafted an edge rusher in the first two rounds since 2005 (Erasmus James). The team needed to replenish its talent off of the edge after losing Danielle Hunter in free agency.”

Minnesota now showcases tremendous EDGE depth, which is noteworthy because some fans panicked about Danielle Hunter’s departure to the Houston Texans not long ago.

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Reid added, “While the team signed Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel during free agency, Turner provides a high upside as a pass-rusher in Brian Flores’ defense. Turner led Alabama with 10 sacks and 45 pressures last season.”

The Vikings haven’t boasted this much pass-rushing beef since the aforementioned Hunter began developing in 2015 and 2016. In recent years, the purple situation has involved Hunter and another defender like Everson Griffen or Za’Darius Smith, for example — and then that’s about it.

gabriel murphy
Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores chatting with Tatum Everett on February 15th, 2023. The Vikings hired Flores from the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was a linebackers coach for one season.

Now, with Turner, Greenard, and Van Ginkel, plus men like Andre Carter II, Jihad Ward, Patrick Jones II, and rookie Gabriel Murphy, Minnesota is cooking with gas on the edges of its defensive line.

Turner wasn’t free, however. Adofo-Mensah shipped his 23rd overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars along with a 2025 3rd-Round pick, a 2024 4th-Rounder, and a 2024 5th-Round selection. That was the price to secure a potent rookie EDGE defender.

Draft Meeting
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Often, NFL rookies are asked to watch and learn before acclimation into the starting lineup, but with Turner, he could see a starter’s snaps as early as September. Outside linebackers are frequently ready earlier than most.

ESPN’s draft analysts also praised the Chicago Bears for drafting wide receiver Rome Odunze in the same article.

Rookie minicamp for the Vikings kicks off later this week.

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).

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