OPINION: Norv Turner Needs To Get Better Or Get Out

Your Norv Turner Criticism Is Legitimate And He’s Earned It.

Somewhere in Winter Park an alarm clock has been going off at weekly intervals, but the Vikings organization continues to hit the “snooze” button.

After last night’s debacle against the Chicago Bears, however, it is time for somebody to wake up.

With Vikings Territory’s unexpected popularity boom over the last few years (due 100% to me surrounding myself with far superior talents) comes a greater sense of responsibility when writing things like this, and calling for another man to be fired is not something I engage in willy-nilly. There are ramifications – team ramifications, family ramifications, long and short term ramifications all around.

Norv Turner is a respected man in the NFL, a well-respected coach whose list of accomplishments would make most others pale in comparison.

If things that were once effective always remained effective, however, I’d have my DVR set to record the newest episode of Friends tonight and would be searching TicketMaster for Nickelback tickets during the commercials.

In the case of Norv Turner, I’ve now arrived at a tipping point and am fully convinced that this offense has been reduced to little more than a greatest hits album, and an antiquated approach that makes for better history segments than live football.

Injuries have decimated Turner’s offense this year; the starting quarterback; the hall of fame running back; both starting tackles. There are certainly excuses hanging low on the fruit tree. They aren’t hard to grasp, but where other teams have adapted to account for player absences, Turner has concocted a retractable bag of flaming dog poo that is constantly springing from our TV sets directly at the eyeballs of Vikings fans everywhere.

Take our own opponents. They are perfectly aware that our defense can overwhelm their offensive line. Their response is to scheme quick-hitting throws that are high-percentage in nature. It limits their offense’s upside, but it still puts the ball in the hands of their playmakers while preventing their quarterback from finishing the game looking like a shark attack victim.

It hasn’t been a secret that Minnesota’s offensive line is not good. It wasn’t a secret when the season started, and it certainly hasn’t gotten better with the rash of injuries taking players that can sometimes at least flash talent off the field. So, does Turner adapt and game plan for Bradford to get the ball out in under two seconds and let Stefon Diggs or Cordarrelle Patterson do their thing?

Absolutely not.

The Vikings may not have a lot of offensive depth right now, but what they do have is an abundance of yards-after-catch (YAC) magicians capable of catching footballs and taking some pressure off of the blocking unit. Not utilizing these talents, not getting the ball out of Sam Bradford’s hands and into theirs, is an absolute travesty.

How about a jet sweep to the guy nicknamed “Flash” instead of putting him in as a lead blocker? How about a slant route to Stefon Diggs versus a depleted secondary? A bubble screen to Adam Thielen who runs with as much determination as anyone on this team? Any of those things would be better than trotting out Matt Asiata for his 3.0-yard average on 14 carries and the five times he was targeted in the passing game.

Imagine if Norv Turner and Alanis Morissette had swapped careers long, long ago. You just know Turner’s version of Ironic would have the line “It’s like ten thousand spooooooons when all you need is a spoon.” Meanwhile, Alanis would have figured out that Sam Bradford should be throwing quick outs five weeks ago.

To be bluntly pissy about the whole thing: It isn’t fair to the offensive line, to Sam Bradford, to the defense, nor to the fans. They all deserve better than what we saw last night. This team is better than what we saw last night, even with excuses growing on trees.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of this whole thing is that we know Turner is capable of getting it right. Perhaps the playbook he used on October 9th against the Texans was too large to fit in the overhead bin of the team plane these last two weeks, but we need to see now more of what we saw then.

The Vikings likely won’t part ways with anyone on a coaching staff that’s amassed a 5-2 record and a real shot at the division crown, but that alarm clock is surely going off this morning in Eden Prarie. Everyone in that building can surely hear it loud and clear.

With the comforts of home awaiting them next weekend, someone is sure to once again hit “snooze” and hope for a better outing against the Lions and regain some of this team’s lost ground.

Here is hoping that the alarm has finally annoyed the hell out of Mike Zimmer enough for him to go and sternly tell Norv Turner to get better or get out.

At this point, that is exactly what is needed. For him to get better.

Or get out.

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. Memo to Norm Turner: If my girlfriend can predict the Vikings will run up the middle on all first downs and in the red zone (like she actually did last night), so can NFL defenses. Also, if you can’t beat em straight up, try a trick play. Finally, when you are down 10 with 5 minutes to go…use an onside kick! EVEN if you fail at least it looks like you care.

    1. I doubt it was Turner who decided to forgo the onside kick. That would have been Zimmer’s call.

  2. I wanted him to be fired after lasr season, to be honest. I have a lot of respect for him, but if he can’t make adjustments, and it seems like he can’t, it’s time to move on

  3. What a crock. Turner hasn’t set foot on the field. But it’s his fault cuz he doesn’t call a play that can be completed in under 2 seconds? Hahahahahahaha. How dumb are you? We aren’t as deep in personnel as we hoped we were. Takes tim Ed for replacements to step up. In the meantime you’re not going to stay on top without a loss or two. They keep losing guys that they can’t afford to lose. But the geniuses think a play caller change will fix everything. I feel stupid for even responding.

    1. James Kane, true Norv cannot step on the field and block anyone. But you know what he CAN DO?
      He can do what ALL other successful O.C’s do, adjust to the realities of your personel and adjust your play calling accordingly to help mitigate that weakness. In this case, the battered Offensive line which cannot get a consistent push on running plays especially when it matters most. And their inability to consistently hold their blocks for more than 2 seconds. He can adjust his scheme to more 3-4 step drop backs instead of his customary 5-7 step drop backs required for the longer developing routes.
      He can call at least 1 damn screen play in the span of 2 games, a misdirection play or anything that would help keep an opposing pass rush on their heels a bit. But he has not adjusted his play calling AT ALL. And we have the most predictable play calling in the NFL. He can do A LOT more to help deal with the reality that our makeshift Offensive line isn’t going to just magically get better at this point. And instead sprinkle in a few plays as mentioned above to keep the defense guessing and on their heels. But he keeps banging his head against the wall and expects a different outcome. There’s a reason Mike Zimmer brought in Pat Shurmer in the spring. If Norv doesn’t show he can adjust to the realities of our offensive line woes, then Shurmer will be the new O.C for the Vikes much sooner than people think.

  4. It’s difficult to understand, seems like the offense was coming together. They’ve regressed. It’s not all Norv’s fault….but he should shoulder most the blame. The O-line is the biggest issue, but it’s been that way for quite a while now. Losing Adrian doesn’t help, but he’s been out for 6 weeks.
    From what I saw in last night’s game, the biggest issue player wise, is Bradford. There were times that he had time, enough time…the ball has to come out.
    Norv and the O-line are not helping him…I know that. Maybe the receivers aren’t getting open? But he HAS to throw it, he’s not good at buying time. Unless he throws the ball this offense will continue to struggle.

  5. The crazy thing is they don’t even need to fire the guy. They can simply strip play-calling duties from him and let Pat Shurmur take that piece over and allow Norv to stick around and ‘retire’ on his own when the off-season comes. Zimmer set himself up to be able to make a change mid-season by bringing Shurmur and Sparano on board. Obviously between the two right now I would give Shurmur the nod, both for his connection to Bradford and because whatever Sparano has been preaching isn’t working for the line. If they want to pay some respect to Norv by allowing him to remain around the team I would have no problem with that, but it would be pretty stupid to not allow Shurmur to take over the play calling when he knows better than anyone what our QB is best at.

  6. That was an ugly, ugly game to watch. Sure, Norval has to take a large part of the blame but like someone else said, Bradford has to play better too. I saw at least two missed throws to receivers. That one to Diggs, that was a sure TD, was just awful. I couldn’t understand the lack of urgency late in the game, behind 10 points. That was especially weird to see.
    Another thing I cannot understand, how can an O-line that practices against one of the best Defensive frontlines in the NFL, week after week, not get any better? I think at this point, we’re pretty much exposed to the rest of NFL and not going to go too far into the playoffs, if we go at all. This coming up off-season will be time enough to fix our O-Line woes and get us in the Super Bowl just in time to play in it in our home stadium.

  7. I know this article is about Norv but the defense was meh last night too. Waynes looked scared out there when they ran at him. All of the LBs were getting pushed around. Jearse took a horrible angle and let a big run go past him. Time after time someone missed a tackle or arm tackled and got dragged five yards. We didn’t get any pressure on Cutler and they weren’t all quick short passes. We got to him once but other times he had plenty of time to beat us. The Defense looked bad last night and they played without heart. They didn’t get any better after halftime, just like the Eagles game. Sometime is not right with these guys all of a sudden after the bye???

  8. Turner has been predictable and totally ineffective. Play-calling has been absolutely sub-standard. We might have to promote Shurmur.

  9. When follow a formula and consistently broadcast what you’re going to do, while ignoring that you know exactly what the opponents are going to do, it can’t work well un favor of your outcomes. Its annoying as a fan to see an obvious blitzer and we dont shift a RB etc to pick him up.
    Its unrealistic to expect a win every week, but the way they lost these last two is very embarrassing.

  10. Am I the only one who noticed on Diggs TD, that Diggs and Sam had a little extra long huddle. I don’t think they ran the play Norv called and it resulted in a TD.

  11. Damn it, your STUPID article cost Norv his job!! How could u do this to the man!! Ruthless

    1. Resigning mid-season does seem like pretty abnorval behavior.

      Adam’s like the Queen of Hearts, “off with their heads” he cries, and his will be done. Remember Adam, with awesome power, comes awesome responsibility. Use it wisely, lest capricious whimsy lead you astray.

  12. oh Adam, are you psychic? Can you predict my future? Is Mike Kano going to propose to me?
    I think it’s legal for us to get married now.

    I want to spend our honeymoon catching suckers at Lake Millacs

    1. Do you dare write an article that Zimmer should be fired! You Ruthless heartless bastard! You got Norv fired!