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Report: Norv Turner Resigns as Vikings Offensive Coordinator

Minnesota Vikings fans woke to surprising — and for some, welcome — news this morning, as Norv Turner has resigned as the team’s offensive coordinator. The development comes on the heels of Minnesota’s second-straight loss, a game in which the offense totaled just 258 yards and converted just 2-of-13 third downs.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news, describing Turner’s decision as a “stunner.” In his third year as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator, Turner’s failed to produce a system worthy of an NFL field. His current offense ranks 31st in total yards, last in total first downs, 28th in passing yards, and 31st in rushing yards.

Following Turner’s resignation, the team announced Pat Shurmur will serve as interim offensive coordinator, effective immediately.

To blame Turner for Minnesota’s offensive struggles is rather unfair, but the architect of a poorly designed home deserves much of the criticism. Faced with the loss of Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson, and Matt Kalil, Turner had a chance to adjust the offense to fit other players’ strengths.

Obviously, he needed to do so with a new quarterback — Sam Bradford — under center, and early on, it seemed to work. Turner called plays to mitigate the team’s sieve of an offensive line, asking Bradford to attack the short areas of the field. He allowed his playmakers — Stefon Diggs, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jerick McKinnon — to catch the ball early in the down and create their own offense, taking away some of the pressure on Bradford.

But in the last two weeks, we’ve seen a different offense in Minnesota. Many of the issues that plagued the Vikings in 2015 reared their ugly head in the team’s most recent losses. The offensive tackles can’t protect the quarterback on seven-step drops, receivers can’t find separation down the field, and without Peterson, the Vikings can’t run the ball effectively.

Turner’s classic “Air Coryell” scheme led to 11 sacks on Bradford and a total of 20 points in the past two weeks. He failed to maximize the talent on the current Vikings roster, sticking to a system that just wasn’t working in Minnesota.

With his departure comes the pseudo-arrival of Pat Shurmur, a longtime offensive coach who served as the Philadelphia Eagles’ coordinator in 2014. His Eagles offense ranked fifth in total yards and third in total points that year, giving Vikings fans hope he can find many of the same results with a familiar face at quarterback in Bradford.

Shurmur was hired early in the offseason as the team’s tight ends coach, but his fingerprints go far beyond the play of Kyle Rudolph and Co. He was integral in the trade for Bradford, lobbying general manager Rick Spielman to pursue his former quarterback in St. Louis (2010) and Philadelphia (2014).

Mike Zimmer is expected to speak with the media at 11 am CST today and will surely provide more info on the changes moving forward.

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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  1. Wow, hope Shurmur will go back to what was working earlier this year.
    Good luck to Norv…I’m sure he’ll be fine. I think he read Adam’s article and thought, “wow, he’s absolutely right…time for me to go.”

  2. with three former head coaches on offense, the vikes O should’ve been doing better. we’re fortunate to have shurmur be able to take over the OC duties. first thing, get clemmings out of there

    1. Yes get Cleanings out of there. I’m sick of watching defenders run around T.J. statue

      1. I am sure you can play the position better, sign up and suit up. Do you realize this is just TJ’s 4th year on offense? He is playing because injuries have depleted the oline and that is what his team has asked him to do.

        1. True, and the error is the team’s, not Clemmings. They should have never played musical chairs with him in Chicago or moved him back to RT against the Eagles. He and Sirles should have started at LT and RT, respectively, last week so that the team could evaluate if that combo made the most sense for the rest of the season. Hell, they could have rotated Long in at LT by quarter or half if they wanted, but at least then we’d have some clear idea who should be starting and who should be on the bench.

          Assuming Sirles starts for Boone at LG, Clemmings will either show that he can adapt and survive at this early stage of his career or not. If the latter, Zimmer better damn well move Sirles back to RT or he’ll start looking as obsessively stubborn as Frazier did in 2013.

  3. Listen, and understand. Adam Warwas, the career terminator, is out there. It cant be bargained with. It cant be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and it absolutely will not stop…ever, until your career is dead!

  4. i went back and watched the qtr. 1-3 again vs. Bears and Eagles (I know, i have no life actually). We ran the ball on first down 12 out of 17 times vs. bears and 11 out of 15 times vs eagles. i did not count 4th quarter because we were so far behind that it wasn’t fair to include that time period. So, we run the ball on 1st down an av.g of 71% of the time the past few games. All of those runs on 1st down were between tackle except 4 times. The good news is that there were “only” 2 times in these 2 games where any runs (1st-4th down) went for negative yardage (much improved over AP). Long played much better vs. Chicago than he did vs. Eagles. Yes, got beat a few times vs. Chicago but remember he has not played since like Oct. 2014. He is going thru his “pre-season” now. I’m not concerned too much about him. Clemmons has regressed since last year if that is possible. He literally does what he is supposed to do adequately well on only about 60% of the time. the other 40% of the time he gets beat – sometimes slightly, sometimes completely, sometimes get’s beat but is saved by someone else helping or the play is a success despite him getting beat. He get’s beat in a number of different way – speed, bull, lunging/off balance. He has become like a hi light reel on common errors by NFL lineman. The “good news” is that he has been quick to help up Bradford or other ball handler 15 times in the past 2 games, so at least he is a nice guy.