One Vikings Move in Particular Draws the Most Praise

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The Minnesota Vikings entered the draft with two selections in the first round, and surprisingly, they actually came out with two players. Trading the farm for a quarterback was expected, but it wasn’t necessary because of J.J. McCarthy’s availability at the tenth overall pick. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah facilitated a deal, climbed one spot to combat other trade threats, and acquired the signal-caller.

One Vikings Move in Particular Draws the Most Praise

1 Vikings Move in Particular Draws Most Praise
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy makes a pass against Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner during the first half of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

It was the first move of Adofo-Mensah’s draft but not the last one. The top defenders fell because it was a draft loaded with offensive talent. Once pass-rusher Laiatu Latu and defensive tackle Byron Murphy heard their names called, Adofo-Mensah jumped up the board six spots to land Alabama’s star outside linebacker, Dallas Turner, ultimately with the 17th pick from Jacksonville.

Turner was a three-year contributor at Alabama, recording 32.5 tackles for loss and 22.5 sacks since 2021. He just turned 21 and possesses freaky athletic tools. Those two elements combined give him a high ceiling and plenty of upside for defensive coordinator Brian Flores to uncover.

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ESPN’s article with three contributors—draft experts Fields Yates, Matt Miller, and Jordan Reid—determined the best and worst teams in various categories. While they liked Minnesota’s move for McCarthy, Miller and Reid named the trade for Turner the best one in the first round.

The Vikings trading up to No. 17 from No. 23 for Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner. The Vikings made two trades up the board in the first round, but I like the second move the most. Turner was my No. 7 overall player in the class, and Minnesota landed him at No. 17 before the run on defensive ends happened. It was a timely and savvy trade up to get ahead of the Rams (No. 19), plus a real steal on value.

Matt Miller
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Turner was considered the best defensive player in the draft class and favored as the first defender off the board. In mock drafts, he was a popular player for the Atlanta Falcons at eight. Getting the promising disrupter this late was a surprise.

Agreed on the Vikings moving up to No. 17 for Turner. GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was aggressive in adding two players at spots of need Thursday. The Vikings desperately needed to come out of this draft with a QB of the future, and they did that with McCarthy. But the more surprising move came when the team traded up to get Turner, landing my top-ranked defensive player in the class. Minnesota arguably had the best first round of any team.

Jordan Reid

The Vikings have signed Andrew Van Ginkel and Jonathan Greenard in free agency to fill their pass-rush needs, leaving Turner’s early role in the team uncertain. However, this does not necessarily mean he won’t get playing time, as pass-rushers are often rotated frequently.

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One advantage of having Turner on the team is that they can use him without necessarily forcing him into a starting role in his debut season. Like all young pass-rushers, Turner must refine his game and expand his pass-rushing plan, but he undoubtedly possesses the tools to excel in the NFL.

After letting Danielle Hunter, an athletic freak, depart in free agency, the Vikings have acquired his replacement, hoping he can become a dominant force like his predecessor.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt