Vikings Rookie Drawing Rave Reviews from Teammate

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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. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings drafted two of the top prospects in this year’s class, landing quarterback J.J. McCarthy with the tenth overall pick and pass-rusher Dallas Turner with the 17th overall draft choice. Of course, it’s too early to call either a hit or a bust, but some reports are intriguing, such as practically every beat writer suggested McCarthy’s arm strength has been a real positive.

Vikings Rookie Drawing Rave Reviews from Teammate

The quarterback is working behind veterans Sam Darnold and Nick Mullens, which is normal for this offseason stage. A couple of months from now, he might get some reps with the first team in training camp and have the chance to unseat the planned starter, Darnold, although the Vikings have stated their intention to play the long game with the 21-year-old.

Vikings Rookie Is Drawing Rave Reviews from His Teammate
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Turner, meanwhile, should have an easy path to earn snaps early in his career. Unlike quarterbacks, pass-rushers constantly rotate, and even having three or four on the field simultaneously makes sense in some situations. Turner will still log snaps in Brian Flores’ defense if he can’t usurp projected starters Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel.

The talented pass-rusher has all the physical tools required to be a dominant force from the edge. That quickness has already made an impression on his teammates, as left tackle Christian Darrisaw raved about him at his media availability on Wednesday and had a familiar comparison.

Danielle Hunter
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Danielle Hunter is the organization’s lost star. After nine seasons with the Vikings, he left in free agency to join his hometown Houston Texans. He made four Pro Bowls and logged 87.5 sacks with the Vikings. In 2023, he tabulated 16.5 sacks, a career-high. Hunter is the complete package, as he can win with power and speed, and an electric spin move is also in his pass-rushing arsenal.

His short-term replacement will likely be Greenard, who departed Hunter’s new team to sign a four-year contract in Minnesota. He produced 12.5 sacks in 2023, which was also a career-high, despite only playing in 15 games. A similarity between the two is their pride in the running game. They are much more than pass-rushers; they are complete outside linebackers.

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Turner, however, is supposed to take Hunter’s role long-term as the face of Minnesota’s defense.

His draft experience was fascinating. Turner was the betting favorite to be the first defender off the board. His common landing spot was the Falcons, who drafted Michael Penix in a strange move.

In an offensive-dominated draft, the first defender was Laiatu Latu, 15th overall, followed by Byron Murphy, 16th. The Vikings ultimately traded up to grab Turner and end his fall, to the excitement of the draft war room.

draft grade
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The Alabama standout played three seasons under Nick Saban, registering 22.5 sacks and 32.5 tackles for loss. He provides outstanding athleticism, which he highlighted at this year’s scouting combine. Turner might require some time to reach his potential, but that ceiling is sky-high. He is only 21 years old and has the necessary physical tools. Expanding his pass-rush moves would go a long way.

The early reports match his draft status, and watching him in the upcoming months and years will be exciting.

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