Norv Turner enjoys watching young players develop. He told a group of reporters at last week’s press conference that it’s one of the reasons why he coaches. When ask about his thoughts on working with Cordarrelle, Norv talked about his experience developing a young Josh Gordon and went on to say, “We got a really good group of young players here, not only Cordarrelle but a number of guys and a pretty good running back. I look at the potential this group has, and you’re anxious to get started and see how far they can go. Cordarrelle has all the physical skills you would like in a player. When I watch tape, one of the things I look for are the things that they already do well, and how they match up with the things we want to do. I think he (Cordarrelle) will fit our offense extremely well.”
Later in the press conference Norv said, “I look at the roster, and certainly I look at the offensive side of the ball, and I think this is a group that can be very good. I think we can be good real fast.”
Whether we’re talking about route-running, explosiveness or overall play-making ability, this team has enough firepower for Norv to take some positive steps forward in the passing game as well as the running game.
Norv certainly likes a balanced offense with a physical running attack. One goal he said is, “We would like to get him (Adrian) in space a little bit more and get the field spread a little better for him.”
The key to spreading the field and getting Adrian Peterson and also Cordarrelle Patterson good touches in open space will depend on how effective the Vikings can be when taking shots down the field.
Norv gets excited when he talks about explosive plays, vertical passing and yards per catch. His record speaks for itself as he has coached a number of wide receivers who have finished near the top in yards per catch. That could be good news for Jarius Wright. Jarius emerged last season with the Vikings as a legitimate big play threat by leading the team with a 16.7 yards per catch average. At Arkansas he had three consecutive seasons where he had 40 or more receptions and averaged over 17 yards per catch.
Because Jarius is only 5’11 180 lbs, he is labeled as a slot receiver, while Cordarrelle being 6’1 218 lbs is stereotyped more as a true #1 split end type of receiver. However, their playing styles and skill set is not necessary a “typical” fit for their body types. Jarius has consistently shown great route running ability and a knack for getting open down field, while Cordarrelle excels in yards after the catch on shorter routes. Norv said he doesn’t get “caught up” in body types when he talks about quarterbacks,… let’s hope the same rule applies for wide receivers as well. Musgrave’s West Coast system failed to maximizing the potential and get the most out the skill set of these young playmakers.
In 2013, Jerome Simpson played 608 offensive snaps compared to Jarius’ 403 and Cordarrelle’s 404. Jarius was targeted far fewer times yet still found the end-zone more often than Jerome. Over the last two seasons, Jarius has scored five times compared to Jerome’s one touchdown. Jerome Simpson may not be back with the Vikings in 2014, so Cordarrelle and Jarius should get more snaps and targets next season. Norv will also utilize more three wide receiver sets, so having Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle and Jarius on the field together, should help stretch the field and open things up for Adrian.