Vikings fans might have mixed feelings about rookie expected to live up to the hype

Minnesota Vikings edge rusher Dallas Turner
Minnesota Vikings edge rusher Dallas Turner / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

After the conclusion of the 2024 NFL Draft, Minnesota Vikings fans were feeling pretty good. The team got "their guy" at quarterback while also being able to move up and draft arguably the best pass rusher in his class.

But, when discussing expectations regarding both J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner, fans might be far too focused on the wrong name, right now. With some reports stating Sam Darnold is firmly ahead of McCarthy in the quarterback room, fans should turn their attention over to the defensive side of the ball. Turner could be in for a huge year.

Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox recently outlined some players who are going to live up to the hype in 2024, and he included Turner in the mix:

"Minnesota Vikings pass-rusher Dallas Turner might not have been the first defender off the board in April, but he's the favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

That's partially because of the situation in which he's landed and partially because of his skill set."

If Dallas Turner is anything close to Danielle Hunter, the Minnesota Vikings defense will surprise in 2024

Hearing rave reviews like the one above from Turner's teammate, Christian Darrisaw, certainly puts the hype into perspective. We're talking about a guy in Danielle Hunter who put up a career-high 16.5 sacks last season ... and comparing him to a rookie?

That's high praise. But, if Turner is also one of the favorites to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, then by all means, let the lofty expectations and comparisons flow.

Vikings fans may have a hard time believing the hype about Turner, as Hunter gave this organization five double-digit sack seasons and four Pro Bowls. Hunter had been a cornerstone for this defense for a long time, and to try and picture a rookie coming in and having the same impact can seem a bit exaggerated.

Don't put it past Brian Flores to mold Turner into one of the league's top pass rushers, though. He got the best out of Minnesota's lesser-talented defense in 2023, and they appeared to be turning a corner heading into 2024. With a potential premier pass rusher like Turner, this defense could really take the next step.

Minnesota already has a top-10 run defense. Should Turner help the Vikings' pass rush evolve into a threatening unit, the defense as a whole might just come together and transform into a top-12 overall unit in the league (43 sacks in 2023; Baltimore led the league with 60).

It sounds crazy, but hey, we're in the desert time of the offseason. Let's have a little fun with hypotheticals.

More Vikings News and Analysis