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Dallas Turner's Transition to NFL Involves Learning from Veterans to Expand His Game

EAGAN, Minn. — Dallas Turner is ready to hit the ground running in the next stage of his career.

Turner, Minnesota's first-round pick out of Alabama in this year's draft, spoke to Twin Cities media members Wednesday and was asked to name the biggest thing that he's learned from the moment he got here until now.

"I'm really just learning how to be a Minnesota Viking right now, trying to be the best professional that I can possibly be. Really just being acclimated to Minnesota, being around a very good group of guys and learning new stuff every day."

The Vikings wrapped up their last round of Organized Team Activity practices last week and will have over a month off until they come back for the most intense part of the offseason — training camp.

With the team having so much free time, Turner spoke about the things that are important to do for him.

"Probably training still and stuff like that but definitely going out and experiencing new things, going out on vacation and going to a place that's new."

Turner will be able to work with his experiences and skills he already has in addition to everything that he's learned so far from veterans on the team.

"Really just the day-to-day stuff, being around guys like Jonathan Greenard, Pat Jones and [Andrew] Van Ginkel. They taught me a lot, just watching them and how they approach things day-to-day, kind of gave me my own way on how to approach things, too. But you know, just being around a great group of vets like that plays a big contribution in what I have going on."

With weeks of practice now under his belt, Turner has gotten to see his fair share of linemen, including left tackle Christian Darrisaw, who has already offered some high praise for the rookie, saying that he is going to be special.

When asked about a spin move that Turner put on one of the linemen — and that Darrisaw loved — he started to laugh, saying that it was something that just happened.

"It was just kind of a reaction, I appreciate C.D. for the compliment. He's a really good tackle for sure. My first day going against him, I got to see what he was like, but he liked that for sure. I'm not going to lie to you."

View photos of QB J.J. McCarthy & OLB Dallas Turner's first day in Minnesota after being drafted by the Vikings in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

On the other side of the line, Turner has enjoyed spending more time with Greenard, who joined Minnesota this offseason in free agency.

Turner, a Florida native, was in high school as he watched Greenard's 2019 season with the Florida Gators in which he recorded 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. Turner considered attending Florida before opting for Alabama.

"Just being around each other every day, we hold each other accountable, he pushes me every day. He kind of took that role of taking me under his wing and just showing me the ropes and stuff like that. I'm very grateful and appreciative of having him in my room."

Turner also spoke on what the transition has been like from college to the NFL, getting more work done without pads and even making sure to shout out Head Coach Kevin O'Connell for being "the best coach in the world."

"Oh yes for sure, the workload from Alabama to the NFL in general is definitely a transition, but it's a good transition with the workload and how intense things are. I feel like it's more of a technical thing at the NFL level, really understanding what you're doing. But I got a lot of great work at Alabama, too — it got me here.

For many people, the NFL can seem like a very intimidating place, especially given the level of talent and strength.

While Turner didn't know what to expect going in, after being here for just a short period of time, he's already acclimated to the culture.

"The most surprising part in my opinion is probably like everybody's human, everybody is a regular person. You hear the NFL, and you think guys are like super dudes, everybody is all serious, but people are regular people. They laugh, smile and joke just like us. Everybody has a personality, too, and it's not just football at the end of the day."

While many veterans have praised him so far for his work ethic and ability to get off the edge, Turner acknowledges that he is grateful but is still looking to improve his game.

"At the end of the day, you've still gotta work, and we haven't even put pads on yet. So you know, I can't really say I did anything yet. I'm just staying humble. I haven't even played a game yet. So there's still a lot more work to do, a lot more proving to do. But I'm definitely excited for what the future holds and for what me and my guys are going to do this season."