New Vikings Pass Rusher Offers Funny Analogy for Minicamp Approach

NFL: NFL Draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New Vikings pass rusher Dallas Turner is going to be a fan favorite before too long. Picking up plenty of sacks on Sunday will help, but his charm and humor in press conferences will go a long way toward endearing him to fans, as well.

The No. 17 pick spent a few minutes chatting with the Minnesota media on Friday. He was asked to reflect on the pace of minicamp and whether there was some temptation with pushing himself too far in the offseason’s initial moments. Notably, the defender compared the team’s coaching staff to parents using a specific strategy for corralling their kids in public.

New Vikings Pass Rusher and The Backpack Leash

Day 1 of rookie minicamp is just one small step. The coaches understand that, so there’s a reasonable emphasis on making sure the young guys don’t overdo it.

Turner has taken notice.

The pass rusher offered this comparison when asked to reflect on needing to slow down: “You ever seen one of the little kids, like in public, and their mom has like the little backpack leash on them? It’s kind of like that.”

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) reacts during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly thereafter, Turner describes how “the kid [may] want to go out there and run, play, do all this stuff” but the coaches — playing the role of the mother with the backpack leash — are “kind of like easing [the rookies] into it.”

There are at least a pair of takeaways from these thoughts. First, Dallas Turner seems to enjoy playing football, so needing to be slowed down is a positive sign. Second, Dallas Turner can be quite funny.

Maybe that’s not as important as the first detail, but having a team with good personalities can make a difference over a grind of a football season (think Brian Robison’s super popular “96 Questions” segment). Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah can commonly be found praising their players for not just the on-field performance but for who they are as people. The team’s main leaders value personality.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell (left) and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah react during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At present, Dallas Turner is the EDGE3 in Minnesota. It’s possible he could leapfrog a veteran or two by the time the 2024 season reaches its conclusion, but there’s strong talent ahead of the rookie. Jonathan Greenard is going to bring the “juice” and Andrew Van Ginkel is going to bring the versatility.

Turner’s job is to partner with those two by becoming a terror on 3rd down. The expectations need not involve Turner being an every-down starter in Year 1. Begin with getting after the QB in obvious passing downs and then build out his game from there.

Turner is 21. The hope is that he’ll develop into a Vikings pass rushing stalwart for the next decade.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.