With the shocking announcement that offensive coordinator Norv Turner resigned and was replaced by Pat Shurmur, a few thoughts began scurrying around in my pea sized brain. I have some observations and ruminations about this, so let's get to it:
1. Switching horses in mid stream is a risky move. I get that the NFL is a results oriented business, and the Vikings offense is, literally, the worst in the league right now. Still, this move isn't without risk. Yes, Pat Shurmur has been with the team ever since the 2015 season ended, and yes, he has a good working history with QB Sam Bradford. Those two things don't automatically mean the Vikings offense all of a sudden becomes a juggernaut. I think the best we can hope for is 'just okay', much like we saw the first five weeks of the season. This offense isn't going to set the world on fire, but it was complementing the defense well, and the Vikings were winning. if they can get back to that, things will be okay. I just wonder what the reaction will be if the Vikings offense still sputters now that the 'Fire Norv' crowd got his metaphorical scalp.
2. There have been no new personnel added to the roster since Norv was fired. The Vikings still have serious shortcomings on the offensive line, and a new offensive coordinator doesn't change that. The Vikings still have the worst running game, by a mile, in the NFL. A new offensive coordinator doesn't change that, either. As latter day philosopher and man of the people Kelly Campbell once said, 'it is what it is'. There are a lot of issues facing this offense, changing the coordinator doesn't magically fix those issues.
3. Shurmur is new set of eyes, though: All those personnel issues aside, Shurmer brings a fresh set of eyes to the offense, and hopefully, a philosophy that adapts the offense to the players. Under Turner, it felt like the offense was once again becoming a square peg being forced into a round hole. Turner is big proponent of running between the tackles, and a passing game that stretched the field and took a lot of intermediate and deep drops, and slow developing passing routes. It was, quite literally, the worst type of philosophy for this offense as it's currently constructed because of the injuries they have had to absorb.
The hope is that Pat Shurmur evaluates the offensive personnel, and installs a game plan that gives the players the best chance to succeed. That wasn't happening with the Vikings offense the last two games, and for a large part of Turner's tenure as the Vikings offensive coordinator.
4. What does this mean for the offense? It's really tough to say, to be honest. There's not going to be a brand new offense installed, but we could see personnel changes. Whether it's along the offensive line, or the incorporation of Laquon Treadwell, we'll just have to wait and see. Shurmur has worked with Sam Bradford extensively in St. Louis and Philadelphia, so I think it's safe to say he knows what Bradford's strengths and weaknesses are as well as anyone. And it was Shurmur that was the most vocal advocate for the Bradford trade in the wake of Teddy Bridgewater's season ending knee injury.
In 2010, Sam Bradford was the Offensive Rookie of the Year with the St. Louis Rams, and Shurmur was his offensive coordinator. In Philadelphia last year, Shurmur was the offensive coordinator, where bradford started 14 games.
5. I don't think it was a 'resign or be fired' situation. Mike Zimmer got visibly emotional at the end of his press conference when discussing his 30+ year friendship with Turner, and said he had no plans to make a change in OC's mid-season. You can tell there is a lot of respect and admiration there, and as ESPN's Kevin Seifert said, if it was really a firing, then Mike Zimmer deserves an academy award. So no, this seems like it was all Norv's idea, and so the Vikings must live with it and move on. And move on they will. So the Vikings offense has a new guy calling the shots, and we'll see what happens, starting this Sunday against the Lions. Best of luck to Norv Turner wherever your next opportunity takes you, and thanks for helping develop Teddy Bridgewater.