Vikings

Don’t Believe the Narrative That the Vikings Overpaid For Dallas Turner

Photo Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Tucked away from the heart of society, a draft analyst was sitting in his mother’s basement. He was watching the draft, and the picks were starting to come off the board. He approved of the analytics used in the first half of the draft as teams looked to secure quarterbacks. However, something troubled him as the Jacksonville Jaguars were on the clock with the 17th-overall pick.

When the graphic on the screen turned from Jaguar teal to Viking purple, things were not well. The Minnesota Vikings sent Jacksonville a fifth-round pick in 2024 and third- and fourth-round picks in 2025. He scrambled for his trade charts to try to make the deal make sense.

Then, the lonely draft analyst’s homemade Trade Machine 9000 started to smoke after the Vikings selected Dallas Turner. The Professor Fink of the gridiron was in serious trouble when his father got home.

However, while the move for Turner may have been an overpay, it didn’t feel like it to the Vikings. They could complete two tasks at once by landing the impact player they needed on defense.

Let’s start with the trade itself. Many people were against the deal because of the cost of moving from pick 23 to pick 17. However, ESPN’s Seth Walder’s calculations included the cost of Minnesota’s move from No. 42 to No. 23.

In the trade with the Houston Texans for pick 23, the Vikings coughed up the 42nd-overall pick, a sixth-round pick (No. 188), and a second-round pick in 2025. The deal to get an additional first-round pick, including the 232nd-overall pick going back to Minnesota, was dead even on the Jimmy Johnson chart (761 to 761.2). On the Rich Hill chart, it was a value for the Vikings by 21 points (equal to a fourth-round pick).

That also assumes that the pick in a future year is worth the value of the highest pick in the following round the next year. For example, if the Vikings traded their 2025 first-round pick, it would be the value of the 33rd pick in the draft.

While the Jimmy Johnson chart designated a slight difference in the trade-up for an additional first, it amounted to the difference of an extra fifth-round pick for the Turner trade. The Rich Hill chart also agreed that the Vikings overpaid by a difference of a fifth-round pick.

Analyzing the Turner trade alone doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it’s different when the two deals are combined. Suppose you reason that the Vikings gave up the No. 23, No. 42, No. 157, and No. 188 picks in this year’s draft in an additional second-, third- and fourth-round picks in 2025 to get the 17th-overall pick. Then, you have what Walder deemed as the third-largest overpay for a first-round pick for a non-quarterback since 2004.

While this could be true, it’s also erroneous, considering the Vikings made each trade in a different scenario.

The Vikings originally acquired the No. 23 pick to trade up for a quarterback. They included it in a significant offer that the New England Patriots reportedly turned down. Giving up the No. 11 and No. 23 picks in addition to Minnesota’s 2025 first to presumably select Drake Maye would have been okay in the draft community’s eyes because the Vikings were getting their quarterback. However, the conversation changes when teams make that deal for any other position.

Go back a year ago when the Texans traded the 12th- and 33rd-overall picks in the 2023 draft and a first- and a third-round pick in 2024 to move up to the third-overall pick to select Will Anderson Jr. Sportskeeda’s Nick Igbokwe labeled this move one of the worst in the 2023 draft. However, Anderson transformed Houston’s defense on the way to an AFC South title.

In 2011, the Atlanta Falcons traded up from the 27th-overall pick and tossed in their 2011 second- and fourth-round picks and their first- and fourth-round picks in 2012 to select Julio Jones with the sixth-overall pick. Jones became one of the league’s most dominant wide receivers and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in a few years.

If Turner is the third-highest overpay in this group, it puts him in great company without considering his fit on the Vikings. Brian Flores did wonders in his first year as defensive coordinator. However, he struggled to get pressure on the quarterback outside of Danielle Hunter’s 16.5 sacks.

After Hunter signed with the Texans in free agency, the Vikings worked quickly to fill his role with Jonathan Greenard and added other capable pass-rushers like Andrew Van Ginkel and Blake Cashman. But even if the Vikings stopped there, adding another impact player on the edge is not a bad idea.

Turner has the skill set to make that happen. His 9.49 RAS score ranked 85th out of 1,637 defensive ends to enter the draft since 1987. His traits also jump out on tape, which shows Nick Saban using him like a chess piece at Alabama.

Someone should have taken a player like Turner in the top 10 of the draft. However, the Falcons shocked everyone by selecting Michael Penix Jr. as part of a run on quarterbacks at the top of the draft board. When the Vikings didn’t need to sell the farm to trade up for J.J. McCarthy at the 10th-overall pick, it left them with an extra first-round pick at No. 23 to make the best of their situation.

When 14 offensive players went off the board to open the draft, Turner was available at 17, which enticed the Vikings to gamble on him. Mel Kiper Jr. lamented the move due to Minnesota’s lack of draft picks in the middle rounds for the next two years. However, not every mid-round pick will turn into Hunter, Everson Griffen, or Jared Allen.

Think of it this way: Would it have been better for the Vikings to politely wait until they were on the clock with the 23rd-overall pick and continue the mission Andre Patterson set out years ago to find “The Next Danielle Hunter?” Or would it have been better to go get a blue-chip prospect to fill that role?

The conversation changes if Turner is a bust. However, it seems obvious right now. The Texans didn’t wait to see if a middle-round gem could fix their pass rush, and the Falcons could have taken their chances with Jonathan Baldwin or Titus Young to fix their No. 1 receiver void.

If the Vikings felt Turner was a game-changer, the cost was worth ignoring any potential analytic flaws. Should he become that type of player, Minnesota could end up with a bargain in the coming years.

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