Vikings Host Draft Meeting with Sweet Prospect

dallas turner
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports.

Most believe the Minnesota Vikings will draft a quarterback on April 25th — they’re probably right — but it wouldn’t be absolutely bonkers for the purple team to net a sweet defensive prospect instead.

Vikings Host Draft Meeting with Sweet Prospect

Accordingly, Minnesota is hosting an array of Top 30 draft visits this week — not limited to quarterback.

Draft Meeting
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted Monday, “Alabama edge Dallas Turner, who could be the first defensive player off the board, is visiting the Vikings today. Minnesota owns the No. 11 pick (and No. 23). A busy pre-draft process for Turner, who also has visits with the Bears, Chargers, Falcons and Cardinals.”

Turner is expected to be the first defender off the draftboard in 16 days in a draft stuffed to the gills with offensive talent. Draft pundits forecast Turner landing with the Atlanta Falcons at pick No. 8, but there’s evidently a world where Minnesota strikes out on a trade up the board for a quarterback while the Alabama alumnus tumbles to No. 11. Unlikely, but we shall see.

Dallas Turner Is
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports.

Before March 15th, Turner was a bit of a draft darling for the Vikings. The world debated whether Kirk Cousins would return for a seventh season in purple, so between January and March, with folks on Cousins Watch, various mock drafts plopped Turner to Minnesota at pick No. 11.

Then, however, Cousins signed with the Atlanta Falcons on March 13th. The move caused virtually every mock draft to align Minnesota with a quarterback prospect in the draft, most involving a trade up pecking order with a team like the Washington Commanders (Pick No. 2), the New England Patriots (Pick No. 3), the Arizona Cardinals (Pick No. 4), or the Los Angeles Chargers (Pick No. 5)

the Vikings Putting
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Image Courtesy of @MattAnderson_8 on Twitter.

Fast forward two days after Cousins to the Falcons, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pressed the button on a pre-draft trade, sending two 2nd-Round picks to Houston for the Texans’ 2024 1st-Rounder (Pick No. 23) and a late-round pick swap. The transaction suggested Minnesota would trade again, probably on draft night, with one of the aforementioned teams.

Still, if everyone is wrong about the Vikings’ quarterback plans and they prefer a passer like Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix at pick No. 23, Turner at No. 11 could materialize.

The Draft Network’s Keith Sanchez described Turner’s scouting report in January, “Dallas Turner is a versatile edge defender that aligned in multiple positions along the defensive front — he will also align in a two, three, or four-point stance depending on the offensive formation and his specific responsibility. At Alabama, Turner was responsible for both setting the edge of the defense against the run and rushing the quarterback. Turner appears to be most natural when he’s rushing the QB and that is where his physical tools and plus-level traits showcase the best.”

Vikings Is Sweet
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.

These are the perks for Turner:

  1. He’s young; he turned 21 in February.
  2. He’s fast. Really fast.
  3. He stops the run and is not a one-trick pass-rushing pony.
  4. Alabama picks rarely flop.

The Vikings haven’t used 1st- or 2nd-Round draft capital on an EDGE rusher in almost two decades. The last man was Erasmus James in 2005.

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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