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Dallas Turner Appreciates 'Surreal Moment' of Joining Vikings After Top 30 Visit Connections

EAGAN, Minn. — Dallas Turner visited Minnesota earlier this month when the Vikings hosted their Top 30 visits.

He got a good vibe from General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Head Coach Kevin O'Connell and Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores.

There will be plenty of time for the edge rusher out of Alabama to learn more about the plan for him, but he has an inkling.

"They said make sure I'm ready to rush the passer when I get off the plane, so I guess that's very key with how they're going to use me," Turner said during a conference call with Twin Cities media members Thursday night after Minnesota selected him with the 17th overall pick.

The Vikings pole vaulted from 23 to 17 in a trade with Jacksonville, sending a pick originally obtained from Houston on March 15, along with the 167th pick this year and 2025 third- and fourth-rounders, to capitalize on Turner still being on the board.

"It was definitely a surreal moment, seeing the area code and where the phone call was coming from," Turner said. "Thanks to those dudes and to the Wilf family for taking a chance on me and picking me up at 17."

Turner became just the third defensive player selected on the draft's opening night that began with a record-setting run of 14 consecutive offensive players (previous record was seven in 2021). By the end of the first round, 23 offensive players had been selected from the first 32 spots, smashing the previous record of 19 through any draft's first 32 selections (the 1968, 2004 and 2009 drafts had 19 offensive players in the first 32 picks).

Another half dozen quarterbacks entered the NFL on Thursday, including Turner's new Vikings teammate J.J. McCarthy, who was selected with the 10th overall pick after Minnesota moved up one spot in a deal with the New York Jets.

Quarterbacks Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye were selected 1, 2 and 3 before Atlanta caught people off-guard by using the eighth overall pick to draft QB Michael Penix, Jr., just a month after signing former Vikings QB Kirk Cousins.

That left Chicago to draft receiver Rome Odunze at No. 9 before Minnesota boxed out other teams for McCarthy. The Jets then drafted tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu a spot before Denver selected Bo Nix, making him the sixth QB selected among the first 12 picks. The six total QBs drafted in a first round tied the record from 1983.

"I definitely was not expecting that. I ain't going to lie to you, but it was still a good thing to see," Turner said of the early run on quarterbacks. "The game is changing, and teams need what they need, so you've just got to respect it."

Turner, who grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, gained familiarity with Flores' defenses when he was head coach of the Dolphins.

"I liked what I saw, especially from the pass rushers with Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips and [Andrew] Van Ginkel," Turner said. "It was a very good thing to watch Coach Flores coach those dudes."

Now he'll team with Van Ginkel, as well as outside linebacker Jonathan Greenard, who were signed during free agency in an offseason in which Danielle Hunter departed for Houston.

During his podium session at the NFL Scouting Combine, Turner listed Hunter as a player he's tried to mold his game from.

A "fun fact" he added is that his cousin Wallace Wright was a receiver with the Jets and overlapped during O'Connell's time as a quarterback "a long, long time ago when I was a little kid."

Turner just turned 21 in February, by the way, but many draft analysts believe him to be NFL-ready and listed him as their top outside linebacker.

View photos OLB Dallas Turner being selected as one of the Vikings 2024 first round draft picks in Detroit.

He's developed under Pro Football Hall of Famer Jason Taylor (his defensive coordinator at St. Thomas Aquinas High School), as well as Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban. Now, he's hoping to build on that with a learner's mentality at the next level.

"Coach Taylor kind of held us to the same standard that Coach Saban held us to in college: always dominate every play all day type of mindset with Coach Taylor, so that kind of carried in me to college and will carry on with me in the NFL."

Adofo-Mensah was asked by Twin Cities media members about Flores' reaction.

"Flo's a calm customer. But he was excited. You know, I think he's just taking the whole environment in and you know, all of us, we're kind of wired for 'what's next?' He's like, 'OK, we got this, where's my [next pick]?' That's kind of how we're all wired because we're, look, we've got to compete at the highest level," Adofo-Mensah said. "This division, this league, is going to be very good, so you can't spend too much time patting yourself on the back. You gotta go figure out what's next."