Evidently, the Vikings Are Interested in Another LSU Draft Prospect

Mar 3, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State offensive lineman Charles Turner (OL68) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past few years, there are few college to NFL pipelines that run as deeply as that from the LSU Tigers to the Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota has selected four players from LSU in the past four drafts, including three in the past two years under Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. This year’s LSU draft class features multiple players near the top of their positions, so once again, the Vikings might be interested in taking at least one Tiger later this month.

Aside from the obvious candidate, QB Jayden Daniels, recent reports have suggested that the latest LSU product to catch the Vikings’ eye is Charles Turner.

Another LSU Draft Prospect Set to Visit the Vikings

LSU Draft
Sep 30, 2023; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; LSU Tigers offensive linemen Miles Frazier (70) and Charles Turner III (69) block during the first half against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Turner has been LSU’s starting center for each of the past two seasons, and he has been in the program for five years. That means he had overlap with multiple current Vikings, including Justin Jefferson as well as fellow interior o-lineman Ed Ingram.

Darren Wolfson reported that the Tigers’ center is set to visit with the Vikings before the draft, tweeting, “Add LSU interior OL Charles Turner III to the list of draft prospects set to visit the #Vikings later this month. Started at center the last two years for the Tigers. Appeared in four games for that special LSU 2019 title team.”

Sep 30, 2023; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; LSU Tigers running back Logan Diggs (3) runs the ball behind a block by LSU Tigers offensive linemen Charles Turner III (69) during the first quarter against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

For the majority of the past five seasons, Minnesota’s starting center spot has run through Garrett Bradbury, whom the Vikings selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. While Bradbury has had some positive moments as the starter, he has had a tough time living up to that first-round draft status.

Even still, Bradbury was able to secure a new three-year deal with the Vikings last offseason worth a total of $15.75 million. This is a rather cheap deal for a starting offensive lineman in today’s market, so especially considering Bradbury saw his $4.65 million salary become guaranteed earlier this spring, it would be very surprising to see the Vikings part ways with him at this point.

Turner certainly would provide some extra security at the position if Minnesota were to draft him. Fans will recall that Bradbury missed the closing portion of the 2022 season because of a back injury, and he sat out three games at the beginning of the 2023 season as well.

Oct 22, 2022; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) celebrates with offensive lineman Charles Turner (69) after scoring a touchdown against the Mississippi Rebels during the second half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless, though, the LSU center will be a project heading into the NFL. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com described Turner in this way:

“Turner is an undersized center-only prospect who relies on his tenacity to overcome his limitations. The LSU offensive line was a physical unit and Turner fit right in. While he held his own for the most part, the step up in competition could strain his ability to keep up as both a run blocker and pass protector. He has good length and is a decent athlete but will need to improve his technique and show that he can play with enough contact balance to grind out reps on the NFL level.”

No one should expect Turner to usurp Bradbury immediately, but a backup plan could be in place with the young center.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.