After over two decades of experience as a head coach or offensive coordinator, Norv Turner is trying to learn some new tricks.
According to Ben Goessling of ESPN, Turner is looking for ways to tweak his offensive system to try to keep up with some of the new schematic innovations that are hitting the NFL, such as wide open offenses and more complex, multiple look defenses.
It’s possible Turner has heard the criticisms that his system is too predictable after being around for almost 30 years in the NFL, and is looking to stay fresh in an NFL with so many spread offenses. Even in the face of some changes though, Turner’s core principles will remain the same.
“There’s a big part of this offense that’s been the same, is sound and is always going to be the same,” Turner told ESPN. “There’s guys who played in this offense 30, 20, 10 years ago that would recognize it. What we’ve tried to do with our offensive staff is, we looked at people that are having success offensively and modernized this offense a little bit, updated it a little bit. We said early that we’re going to get ourselves out of our comfort zone.”
Goessling wrote that Turner specifically wants to spread the field a little more often and feature more no-huddle in the Vikings attack. That could mean more snaps for the wide receivers lower on the Vikings depth chart, and a lot of new responsibilities for whoever is taking the snaps under center.
His desire to run more no-huddle could be one reason Turner reportedly pounded the table on draft night for Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater’s football intelligence was one of his standout traits as a college quarterback, and Turner may feel that his rookie signal caller has the mental capacity to thrive with extra responsibility at the line of scrimmage.
No matter what, it’s refreshing that someone with the coaching pedigree of Turner is still open to new ideas after all of these years in the NFL. One of the major criticisms of the previous Vikings regime was its lack of schematic flexibility, and that staffs’ accomplishments pale in comparison to Turner’s.
“When you’ve been doing this, and you’ve had success with certain things, you tend to cling to those things,” Turner told ESPN. “If you’re paying attention, football in the NFL is evolving — and I’m not saying it’s changing…But there’s some things that we looked hard at, that we can get more people involved in the offense, we can spread the field better and we can take advantage of some of our guys with some things we’ve added that we’ve watched other people do. There were some things that, to be honest with you, were a little foreign to me. It’s been fun. It’s really been fun.”