Dallas Turner Will Wear a Familiar Number

Draft Meeting
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Minnesota Vikings punter Ryan Wright is an open-minded guy.

Dallas Turner Will Wear a Familiar Number

A couple of weeks ago, the specialist surrendered his No. 14 jersey number to Sam Darnold, the man expected to take QB1 responsibilities, at least for a while, in September. Wright opted for No. 15.

dallas turner
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Fast forward to the week after the draft, and Wright has switched numbers again, donating the No. 15 to new Vikings outside linebacker Dallas Turner. That’s the number Turner wore at the University of Alabama, and he’ll carry it over to the pros.

Joshua Dobbs — of 2023’s DobbsMania fame — most recently wore the number, so it already has a bit of a backstory. Former Vikings WR Greg Jennings wore it in the past. Quarterback Gary Cuozzo, too, wore it in purple from 1968 to 1971.

Dallas Turner Is
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Minnesota used Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft to select quarterback J.J. McCarthy of Michigan — and Turner. Virtually no fan believed 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 slid 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. 

Turner’s coach at Alabama, Nick Saban, said about his defender right after the pick, “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.”

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And according to ESPN, Turner was the best value pick of the draft’s 1st Round. 

Matt Miller explained, “Dallas Turner, EDGE, to the Vikings (No. 17). The Vikings traded up to get Turner, but they still stole the draft’s best edge player. I had him at No. 7 overall on my board. Outside of quarterback, defensive end was the team’s biggest need after losing Danielle Hunter in free agency. Now, Turner (10 sacks in 2023) can team up with free agent acquisition Jonathan Greenard to give the Vikings a legitimate one-two punch off the edge.”

While Turner could nail down one side of Minnesota’s defensive line for years, he certainly wasn’t free. In fact, Adofo-Mensah spent the equivalent of two 2nd-Rounders, a 3rd-Rounder, 4th-Rounder, and a 5th-Rounder to grab Turner.

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Thankfully, Turner is young — one of the youngest in the draft — speedy, and able to stop the run in addition to getting after quarterback. He may be worth the squeeze of five draft picks. Stay tuned.

Next up for the Vikings? Mandatory minicamp in about five weeks.

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.