The Minnesota Vikings brought in Pat Shurmur not just to coach tight ends but to help with the team’s spread formations, says head coach Mike Zimmer.
The Vikings brought on Pat Shurmur to coach tight ends last month, and much speculation ensued about what the former Eagles OC’s role with the team would actually be. Cause no one really bought that Shurmur was just coming aboard to coach a position group.
Thursday from the combine, head coach Mike Zimmer offered a little clarity on the nature of Shurmur’s job with the team.
As suspected, Shurmur will have input in the offense beyond just coaching the tight ends. Zimmer said Shurmur was brought in for a specific purpose related to Teddy Bridgewater and the passing game (via Minneapolis StarTribune):
"Zimmer said that Shurmur, who will coach tight ends in 2016, will help the Vikings find their groove with Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson in their shotgun spread formations. Shurmur spent the past three years in Philadelphia working under Chip Kelly, who utilized the shotgun often."
Things got ugly last year at times as the Vikings tried to incorporate Peterson into their shotgun looks. The running back often had trouble finding holes and was pretty much inept when called upon to block.
Eventually the Vikings stopped trying to use Peterson in the shotgun at all, instead working Jerick McKinnon more into the offense. That was about the time of the season when McKinnon began taking off as a player.
No doubt the Vikings will still try to get McKinnon in there at times, but Peterson is obviously going to be the featured back and to make their offense work, they need to be able to run the shotgun with Peterson on the field.
Shurmur not only has experience with the Chip Kelly approach to the spread offense, he also has long experience in the West Coast offense. Hopefully Shurmur can help Norv Turner figure out how to make the Vikings’ offense a little less predictable all-around. Last year the Vikings ran on first down a higher percentage of the time than any team in the NFL.