Vikings Passing by the Numbers Under Norv Turner


It’s a new day on offense for the Minnesota Vikings. The team isn’t even speaking the same language as the 2013 squad anymore.

New offensive coordinator Norv Turner uses a numbers scheme in his “Air Coryell” offensive instead of the verbiage most teams use, according to Andrew Krammer of 1500 ESPN. Krammer wrote an insightful piece on Turner’s system if you want to know the details of what the veteran coach is bringing to Minnesota.

“It was based on knowing you’re going to have constant change,” Turner told 1500 ESPN on his mentor’s, Don Coryell, choice of a numbers scheme. “They wanted a system that was easy to learn in terms of initially learning it and easy to teach.”

The Vikings have spent a lot of time learning the system as they go through organized team activities (OTAs) this week, with Krammer reporting that the team’s focus has been on passing. With Turner replacing former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, the Vikings have gone from a west-coast system based around short, high-percentage completions to one that emphasizes stretching the field.

Turner’s system rests on three basic principles according to Krammer: adequate pass protection for 5- to 7- step dropbacks, a power running game, and of course, vertical passing.

Turner told Krammer the vertical routes in his system are all about “being in the right place at the right time.” To complete those passes, quarterbacks in Turner’s scheme need to make quick decisions and be able to anticipate throws, like Troy Aikman did under Turner in the 90s.

So far, the Vikings new rookie quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, seems to be doing well in those areas according to Turner.

“What I like now about Teddy, he learns very quickly,” Turner told Krammer. “He’s really done a nice job with his decision making and sometimes you’re getting the play call and you’re saying ‘I don’t even know if he knows what the play is’ and he’s going back, he makes a good read and makes a real quick decision.”

It’s always a tough adjustment for a rookie quarterback to come into the NFL, but Bridgewater can rest easy knowing he’s been placed in one of the most proven offensive systems in the league. Turner’s core principals have remained the same throughout over 30 years of NFL coaching experience, even though he’s made tweaks along the way.

“The thing I love about this system – it’s developed over the year,” Turner told Krammer. “Everywhere I’ve been, we’ve added something new to it based on the  coaches I’ve worked with. So I think what you do is find out what players do best and take the parts of that system that fit them and emphasize those the longer you’re together.”