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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Zulgad: Timing of Turner’s departure might be unexpected, but his exit should surprise no one

By Judd Zulgad

The timing of Norv Turner’s resignation on Wednesday morning might have been a surprise, but the fact Turner is now the Vikings’ former offensive coordinator should come as a shock to no one. It also shouldn’t be a surprise that Pat Shurmur was named to the coordinator’s job.

There have been signs that coach Mike Zimmer wanted changes to be made in his offense. The biggest indication of this came in January when Shurmur and Tony Sparano were hired to coach tight ends and the offensive line, respectively. Both had experience as coordinators and head coaches in the NFL.

The decision to add Shurmur was especially interesting. The former Browns coach also had five years of experience as an offensive coordinator and was in line to talk to the Los Angeles Rams about a possible job as passing coordinator.

Shurmur was initially hired with no title attached to his name, a clear indication that Zimmer wanted Shurmur’s offensive expertise in the building. There was no one buying that Shurmur really signed on to coach a small group of players.

There has been speculation that Turner was going to retire after this season and the logical assumption was that Shurmur would take over at that point. Turner likely was hoping the job would go to his son, Scott, who is the Vikings quarterbacks coach, but that wasn’t going to happen.

If Norv’s demise began the day Shurmur was hired, it was put on fast forward the day Teddy Bridgewater suffered a devastating leg injury in a practice just before the regular season.

The Vikings were desperate to find a starting quarterback and it just so happened the Eagles were willing to part with Sam Bradford. Who was the person that general manager Rick Spielman and Zimmer could consult to get the low down on Bradford? It certainly wasn’t Turner.

Shurmur had been Bradford’s offensive coordinator with the Rams and again served in that role last season in Philadelphia. No one in Winter Park knew Bradford like Shurmur and no one was more qualified to establish a scheme that could get immediate results.

That’s what Shurmur was able to do as Bradford played at a near MVP level in helping the Vikings to victories over Green Bay, Carolina, the Giants and Houston before the bye week. That was after veteran Shaun Hill won the opener against Tennessee.

The Vikings entered the bye week at 5-0, but have dropped back-to-back games at Philadelphia and Chicago in which the offensive line looked pathetic and the entire unit struggled to move the ball.

As our Vikings analyst Matthew Coller has pointed out on this website, the offense was using more deep drops with Bradford in the past two games. These are things Turner likes to do but, in this case, there had to be real concern that the line’s inability to protect Bradford was going to get the immobile quarterback injured.

It was almost as if Turner had watched the Vikings’ success using what looked like a Shurmur system in the first four starts by Bradford and then said, “Hey, let’s reincorporate some of what I like to do, since Sam has been here a while.”

Now, a word of caution for anyone who thinks this change will fix all of the Vikings’ ills. This offensive line is a mess and there is no one who is going to arrive to save the day.

The Eagles and Bears have spent two weeks giving opponents of an idea of how to make this offensive line look terrible. Despite having an off night on Monday in Chicago, the Vikings’ defense remains one of the best in the NFL.

This offense doesn’t need to be great it simply needs to be productive. That was accomplished for the first five weeks of the season. The Vikings have to be hoping Shurmur can recapture that productivity beginning Sunday against Detroit.

The post Zulgad: Timing of Turner’s departure might be unexpected, but his exit should surprise no one appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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