Brian Flores Describes “A Little Bit of Shock” with Minnesota Snagging a Specific Defender

NFL: NFL Draft
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tatum Everett does a nice job in her interview with Brian Flores.

Her task is to prompt the defensive coordinator to illuminate some of the upside and rationale behind the Dallas Turner selection. One of the more fascinating tidbits to come out within that conversation is Flores’ surprise about even being able to land the defender in the first place. “I was similar to KO,” Flores explains, “I was, there was a little bit of shock.”

Brian Flores and the “Shock” of Landing Dallas Turner

Even more exciting, perhaps, is that Flores is already envisioning ways to get Turner involved.

“I immediately started, once we got him, I’m starting drawing plays,” Flores goes on to note. The DC then adjusts the shock claim, suggesting that it’s more “excitement” about adding the talented defender before then describing how there’s some dreaming about how Turner can work alongside “some of the other players [the Vikings] have.”

NFL: NFL Draft
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Dallas Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner is selected as the No. 17 pick by the Minnesota Vikings during the 2024 NFL Draft at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There’s tremendous potential with Turner upon considering who his teammates will be: “Dallas in conjunction with Jonathan Greenard, and Van Ginkel, and Metellus, and Harrison Smith, and Harrison Phillips. Different groups that you can put out on the field in different situations.”

The next step will involve “teaching him the system” and “giv[ing] him as much as he can handle” while making it a priority to “put him in the best position to do what he does best.”

Coaching 101, folks.

Flores is pointing us toward an easy to overlook part of the pick. Similar to J.J. McCarthy coming into a really favorable offense, Dallas Turner is stepping into a defense that will put him in a position to succeed. There’s already some excellent talent along the edge — the aforementioned Greenard and Van Ginkel — which will help to take the pressure off of the rookie. Quite possibly, Turner doesn’t start a single game in 2024 while nevertheless playing a crucial role as a 3rd-down specialist.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Houston Texans
Dec 3, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA;Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is hit by Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard (52) after the pass in the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

But then there are other promising, versatile players at all levels of the defense. Offenses are going to need to account for Josh Metellus and/or Harrison Smith moving all over the place, a reality that will make life just a touch easier for the Alabama alumnus.

Working in Turner’s favor is that he’s more than just a gifted athlete. Flores sees someone who is smart, who has a good routine to his week, who has varied skills, and who will work hard. All of those parts of Turner are going to combine to (hopefully) give the Vikings a tremendous new defender.

Last season, the Vikings sat above all other NFL teams be blitzing 51.5% of the time. Some of that aggression was likely the byproduct of not being loaded with players capable of generating pressure independent of some schemed chaos. Putting all of Greenard, Van Ginkel, and Turner onto the field at the same time will make opposing offensive lines skittish, especially since Minnesota will still be showing the threat of blitz with guys like Metellus, Smith, and Ivan Pace Jr. (among others).

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (40) and safety Josh Metellus (44) tackle Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) causing him to fumble in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

In 2023, Dallas Turner helped Alabama’s defense by piling up 10 sacks and 14.5 TFLs. Even getting to half of those numbers — 5 sacks and roughly 7 TFLs — would likely point toward a successful rookie season in the NFL. The key will be what stands behind those marquee stats. Or, put differently, being able to consistently find ways of being disruptive while still turning some of those reps into ironclad plays behind the line of scrimmage.

Turner is only 21.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Sports Reference CFB helped with this piece.

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.