Most of time, fans get caught up in the player and doesn’t pay attention as much to the coach that puts the player in a position to succeed. On Wednesday, the Minnesota Vikings Offensive Coordinator, Norv Turner, Defensive Coordinator, George Edwards, and their Special Teams Coordinator, Mike Priefer, all spoke with the media. They gave insights on some of the upcoming changes for the upcoming season, as well as their impressions on some of the players and how they fit into the new system in all facets of the game this year.
Offensive Coordinator, Norv Turner, has a wealth of successful coordinating experience, as well as Head Coach experience. He has 2 Superbowl rings as a coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys and is coming off a 6 year stint from 2 years ago in which he had a record of 56-40 as head coach of the San Diego Chargers. He now will get a chance to mold an offense around 2012 NFL MVP, RB Adrian Peterson, along with 1st round draft pick, QB Teddy Bridgewater, and other talented skill players such as WR Cordarrelle Patterson and TE Kyle Rudolph. You throw in veteran, and consummate pro, WR Greg Jennings and you have the makings of a future big time offense.
Turner mostly talked about the Minnesota Vikings offense, and how everyone on the staff has had part of molding what they think is the best offense for the personnel they have. He wants to have a versatile offense that can attack the defense’s weakness, no matter what it is. He spoke about Peterson having to run more passing routes this year and him having good hands. He did mention that for a player like Greg Jennings, it may be harder for him to adjust with him having played in a West Coast offense for so long. Everyone must adjust to the new communication, the West Coast system has been engrained in Jennings for years now.
Turner then spoke on rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater, saying, “It’s always fun with a younger player that it’s all new to them, they’ve got the big eyes. Teddy is so great to be around making it easy. As Coach Zimmer has said, he knows how to work. He’s very instinctive. He’s a very natural player. One of the things that has been the most impressive to me is I knew he’d be very accurate, I knew he’d make great decisions, quick decisions, but he’s been outstanding throwing the ball deep, which some people thought that was going to be an issue.” Turner said he will have all 3 QBs run no huddle offense and see how fast they progress in terms of calling their own plays and audibles on the line. Turner seems very impressed with Bridgewater, especially his deep ball passing.”
Defensive Coordinator, George Edwards, has been a coach between NFL and College for 13 years. He has had stops in Washington, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Miami twice before being hired this offseason. Edwards gave good praises to some of the vets on his team, such as newcomer CB Captain Munnerlyn and ILB Chad Greenway. He also added that the confidence level of CB Xavier Rhodes is rising that when they progress into a more press coverage team, he will be good at it.
Most of what Edwards said surrounded around their other 1st round pick, LB Anthony Barr. Because of UCLA being on the quarter system academically, they hadn’t completed classes until this week, so Barr was not allowed to be with his new teammates yet. However, the assistant coaches have used Skype and other methods to keep him mentally ready. This may set Barr back initially, but Edwards envisions his role growing as the year goes along. Right now, Edwards plans to move him all around and see where he fits best.
Barr has only been in a 3-4 for two years at UCLA, but Edwards isn’t worried, saying “He’s doing a lot of the similar things that we are asking him to do, whether its rush the passer, whether its drop back in coverage, playing off the ball a little bit more than he probably has in the past, but from that aspect of it, right now we’re just trying to get him in those positions.” Edwards also said Barr is an intelligent young man, saying, “He can transition from the meeting room to the field and that’s always a pleasure to coach.” Barr seems like he will have a similar look/feel to DeMarcus Ware when he was with the Cowboys, playing anywhere that he is needed.
Special Teams Coordinator, Mike Priefer was 1 of the few coaches that was brought back from last year’s team. The 1st thing he mentioned was how rookie RB and former QB Jerick McKinnon showed great athleticism and could be used as a backup returner. Also, last year’s pro bowl special teams returner, Cordarrelle Patterson will be used more on offense, so he may get some help on special teams this year. He thinks the Viking playing in Gopher Stadium will have a big impact on the kicking game. The stadium is wide open and could have a huge effect on the kicking game, but they will adjust.
Priefer was accused by former punter, Chris Kluwe, of using homophobic remarks. He spoke about his approach to the investigation, saying, “Yeah, it’s been one of those things. I come to work every morning, I’m excited about the direction of this football team, I really like our coaching staff, I’m excited about our new players, I’m excited about the guys we retained, that came back, so my focus has been totally on football.”
The Minnesota Vikings coaches seemed to be all on the same page as newly appointed Head Coach Mike Zimmer. They seemed to be on the verge of a surprised team if they can get good play out of their QBs. The main thing is getting back to the playoffs, and that is something that all of their coaches can agree on, now it’s time to do it on the field.
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