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Report: Vikings Make Pat Shurmur Permanent Offensive Coordinator

The Minnesota Vikings removed Pat Shurmur’s interim tag, making him the team’s permanent offensive coordinator, as first reported by ESPN’s Ben Goessling.  Shurmur assumed interim duties following Norv Turner’s sudden resignation on November 2 and held the position for Minnesota’s final nine games.

During his annual season-ending press conference, head coach Mike Zimmer would not reveal Shurmur’s future with the team, but did praise his work under such unfortunate circumstances.

[quote_box_center]”I do think that Pat did a very, very good job, especially under the circumstances that he was put in. I think, offensively, we improved a lot in the passing game. You can look at the statistics from when he started going and things that we’ve done after that. I think he had a great relationship with Sam [Bradford]. I think the offensive players respect him and we’ll just figure all those things out.”[/quote_box_center]

Shurmur was hired as the Vikings’ tight ends coach last January, though speculation stirred he’d assume more than just a positional role with the team. When Sam Bradford arrived in Minnesota, the murmurs grew louder, as Shurmur had coached Bradford previously in St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Bradford attributed much of his early success in Minnesota to the presence of Shurmur, whose fingerprints were apparent in certain areas of the Vikings offense. Following a 10-point outing at Soldier Field on Halloween night, Turner stepped down, paving the way for Shurmur to mold the offense as he saw fit.

As Zimmer pointed out, the team’s offensive statistics improved with Shurmur calling the plays. In Minnesota’s first seven games, the offense averaged 293 total yards per game; after Shurmur took over, the unit averaged 337 total yards per game.

Scoring-wise, the offense averaged 19 points per game without Shurmur and nearly 21 with him on the headset; not a major difference, but the Vikings did finish the year with a season-high 38 points in Week 17. Bradford also saw jumps in his statistics, going from 219 passing yards per game under Turner to 254 yards per game in the season’s final nine matchups.

Minnesota struggled to run the football all season, putting more pressure on Bradford as the year wore on; in his first six games, Bradford threw 33 passes per game, and under Shurmur, he threw 38 passes per game. The Vikings finished the season with the league’s worst rushing attack, averaging just 75 yards per game and hitting the century mark twice all year.

Injuries to the offensive line, the loss of Adrian Peterson, and Jerick McKinnon’s slow development contributed, but the issues likely won’t be so dramatic in 2017. With a healthy crop of linemen, additions in the offseason, and an extended period of preparation for Shurmur, the offense should find more balance next season.

The backbone of the system — quick-hitting passes, wide receiver screens, no-huddle packages — is in place, giving hope the offense as a whole will improve under the guidance of Shurmur and with a few key additions along the offensive line.

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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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13 Comments

  1. Very disappointing news. I had hoped the delay in announcement meant we might dump Shurmur and trade Bradford. I was hoping to go back to our physical/run first offense next year with a coordinator who has a better history of success. Not to mention, keeping Shurmur means we’ll keep Bradford. I was hoping we might trade Bradford to recoup some draft picks and dump that $18 million dollar salary of his. We could use those picks and $18 million to fix our O-line and run game.

    1. I really like Teddy and hope he can come back strong. He has solid character and is well respected. That being saud, would seem wise to keep Bradford until we know if Teddy can come, and if so, how well he can play.

      1. Robert, I think the most realistic move would be to cut Peterson or trade him somewhere, though that’s the less likely of the two options. It’s clear, to me at least, that Shurmur operates an offense either Bradford or Teddy would be comfortable running. The same can’t be said for Peterson, who hasn’t been truly effective in MN for a couple of years now. Personally, I’m satisfied with the decision and hope it means we see a bit of an offensive evolution next season.

        1. Adrian Peterson “hasn’t been truly effective in MN for a couple of years now.” As my teeth grind, my reply is…

          One year ago, at the age of 30, running behind an offensive line with exactly two good starters out of five (Joe Berger and Mike Harris) and with a passing game that rarely distracted opposing defenses, All-Day led the league in rushing, averaged 4.5 yards per rush (at 30!), scored 11 TD’s on the ground (one every 30 runs) and was voted to the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro lists of both the Associated Press and the Pro Football Writers of America.

          I disagree with Mr. Centofanti about trading Bradford but, if I had my druthers, I’d love to see both Bradford and Peterson re-negotiate and extend their contracts, and I’d dearly love to see what Shurmer could do with Peterson. After all, Shurmer’s had success with Steven Jackson (less fumbling, too), LeSean McCoy and, at least more than anyone else, Trent Richardson. In any case, under their current contracts – each has one year at $18 million – neither Bradford nor Peterson have any trading value to speak of. Peterson would be somewhat easier to replace, but as the last TWO years proved, not so easy as many arm chair GM’s – “You can get a running back in any round – or even off the street! – and still have an effective running game” – confidently claimed.

    2. Trade Bradford, and then go back to run oriented offense with a line that can’t run block and a 33 year old RB? Wow, no offense to you but I’m glad you’re not the GM. Bradford is the most prototypical QB we’ve had since Favre. Teddy needs time to heal, if he can, and we’ve got a capable backup in Heinecke on the bench. We need o line help and fresh legs in the backfield. Those things will go a long ways toward getting the vikes back to the playoffs.

  2. Robert, How far has a physical/run first offense gotten us? We’ve had the best running back in the NFL in Peterson for years and the closest we’ve come to a championship was in 2009 with a pass oriented offense with Farve.

    Trading Bradford without knowing Bridgewaters future is foolish. Fix the OL and find a power back that can also pass block and see what happens then.

    1. Absolutely agree. I can’t figure out these guys that hate on Bradford. He’s clearly the best QB we’ve had in a long time. Put a decent O-line in front of this guy and he’ll prove it. AD is done and it looks likely we will be cutting him.

    2. The Seahawks and Ravens recently won Super Bowls with power running games. Absent Russell Wilson or Joe Flacco, AD took the Vikings to the playoffs with the following starting quarterbacks: 37-year old Gus Frerotte and Tarvaris Jackson, 40-yo Brett Favre (while AD ran for 18 TD’s, by far the highest annual total of his career), Christian Ponder and a second-year Teddy Bridgewater. Substitute Wilson or Flacco for any of those QB’s and there’s a damned fine chance Peterson would have at least two Super Bowl rings. Ill-timed fumbles notwithstanding, Peterson has not held this team back.

      In any case I’m not saying that the team should mortgage its future for Adrian Peterson, but neither is it an either “Bradford and Shurmer OR Peterson” choice. As I noted above, I’d love to see what the three of them could do together.

  3. had to keep PS because we have to keep SB becaue we don’t know how TB will recover. hey! it’s an algo

    1. AP is done. We need to get at least two linemen in F/A. Then draft at least three more. I believe we have a few good pieces left from the online. I know some opinions say get rid of Hill but if you seen the Chicago game at the end of the season Hill did not let anyone near Bradford. I say keep him draft a OT let the two of them battle it out in camp to see who starts.

  4. Pretty much a no brainer. It seems we’re stuck with Sam, at least until Teddy gets back!

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