It became official today that the Minnesota Vikings hired Norv Turner as the team’s offensive coordinator, and he joins a list including Mike Zimmer and George Edwards as incoming coaches. Edwards has a background with linebackers and will be the team’s defensive coordinator, but Turner has experience running a dominant offense in San Diego and could do wonders with the Vikings’ pass attack in 2014.
The Vikings clearly aren’t set for the future at the quarterback position, but the way Turner developed and utilized Philip Rivers in San Diego from 2007-2011 should give Vikings fans plenty of hope. Rivers was drafted back in 2004, but after riding the pine for a couple years, he paired up with Turner and headed one of the best scoring offenses in all of football.
This was back when the Chargers also had All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who was just as skilled as Adrian Peterson is today, and with the Vikings looking to draft a quarterback this offseason, it will be Turner’s chance to pick his guy. From 2007 — Turners first in San Diego — to 2011, the Chargers had a top five scoring offense that was led by an aging Tomlinson, and a growing Rivers.
As sad as it is to say, Peterson is likely nearing the peak of his career, and with the team likely grooming a young quarterback in the coming years, this is a situation that will be familiar to the Turner, who has 23 years of coaching experience.
After his head coaching career came to an end after the 2012 season, Turner became the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns — where he spent the entire 2013 season — and coached three different quarterbacks on his way to having the leagues 11th best passing offense. Turner was able to do this despite an injury ending Brian Hoyer‘s season after just 96 pass attempts, and a backfield that lost Trent Richardson after two games and was forced to rely on a beat up Willis McGahee to shoulder the running back duties.
With numerous weapons in Minnesota, both in the backfield and at the wide receiver position, it’s beginning to look as if the Vikings could have a dominating offense going forward. Matt Cassel looked above average at times last season, and if Turner can channel the best out of him for a whole year it’s very likely the Vikings complete for a playoff spot in 2014.
The offseason is just underway, and with free agency and the draft still in the future, it’s important to not get too far ahead of yourself. While Turner has a proven track record, he can’t be named a great hire until his offense actually performs on Sundays. The future does look bright however, and as long as Turner can continue his success, the Vikings’ offense will be in very good hands.