Vikings Rookie Predicted to Contend for All-Pro, Pro Bowl Honors

Kevin O'Connell, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Head coach Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings will rely on multiple newcomers to fill the shoes of some of their top performers who departed in free agency.

While the timing of J.J. McCarthy’s ascension to starting quarterback is reliant on the rookie hitting benchmarks through a painstakingly thought-out development process, his fellow first-round pick Dallas Turner could very well hit the ground running in Week 1.

Turner will compete with Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel, two free agent additions in Minnesota, for starting reps this summer. However, Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report predicted on Saturday, May 4 that Turner will see enough of the field to be one of the top 10 rookie contenders for Pro Bowl and/or All-Pro honors during his first season.

In 2023, two Minnesota Vikings edge rushers, Danielle Hunter and D.J. Wonnum, logged at least eight sacks. The former recorded a career-high 16.5 sacks and tied Maxx Crosby for a league-leading 23 tackles for loss.

The Vikings lost Hunter and Wonnum in free agency. They signed edge rusher Jonathan Greenard, though Turner has the ability to lead Minnesota’s defensive front in sacks and tackles for loss this year.

In his final collegiate term at Alabama, Turner logged 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. With 4.46 speed off the edge, he may live in the opponent’s backfield on passing and run downs.

Dallas Turner Is Elite Athlete, Presents Vikings With Development Project

Bears Top 30 Visit Tracker 2024 NFL Draft Dallas Turner

GettyMinnesota Vikings edge rusher Dallas Turner.

Turner was a first-team All-American during his third collegiate season at Alabama, not to mention the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the same award at a national level. And most of that success was due to sheer athletic talent.

The biggest knock on Turner coming out of college and through the NFL Combine/draft process is that he remains somewhat raw from a technique standpoint. Among his weaknesses, Lance Zierlein of listed that Turner “needs to become a more skilled hand-fighter at the top of the rush,” add that Turner’s “rush is currently missing instincts and counters associated with high sack production.”

All that said, the website listed Turner as its second-best edge prospect coming out of the combine, and Minnesota ended up making him the second pass rusher to come off the board at No. 17 overall. Only Laiatu Latu went higher, landing with the Indianapolis Colts as the 15th pick in the first round.

Turner may well be a bit of a project for the Vikings, but he has the type of elite speed and quickness that can’t be taught, which afford him a high ceiling if he is the kind of player who is willing to receive and apply coaching.

Dallas Turner Could End Up Vikings’ Best Edge Rusher in Rookie Season by Default

Jonathan Greenard, Vikings

GettyMinnesota Vikings edge defender Jonathan Greenard.

As far as Moton’s Pro Bowl prediction goes, Turner won’t have to compete with Latu. But another edge rusher, Jared Verse out of Florida State who will play his rookie campaign with the Los Angeles Rams, is probably Turner’s biggest competition as far as league-wide honors and the 2024 rookie class are concerned.

“Without defensive tackle Aaron Donald commanding double- and triple-teams, Los Angeles Rams defenders may find it difficult to rack up sacks, which is why Turner may be in a better spot to emerge as a Pro Bowl player than Verse,” Moton wrote.

Turner also has the potential to end up the best pass rusher on the Vikings squad this season, though that might not be the best news for Minnesota fans considering how much the team paid Greenard ($76 million) and Van Ginkel ($20 million). Of course, both men could play well and Turner could simply outshine them due to his physical gifts and potential for development.

However, Moton’s colleague at Bleacher Report Brad Gagnon made a case last month that Greenard could end up busting in Minneapolis.

“I’m just saying there’s a chance the 26-year-old linebacker is a big-money bust as a free-agent addition in Minnesota,” Gagnon wrote on April 10. “He’s [tallied] two or fewer sacks in two of his first four NFL campaigns, but he is now making $19 million per year.”

Meanwhile, Van Ginkel has proven himself a solid contributor over five NFL seasons, though he has started just 42 of the 73 games in which he played for the Miami Dolphins over that span and has tallied just 17 career sacks, per Pro Football Reference.

Read More