In a move that shouldn’t come off as that much of a surprise, the Minnesota Vikings have reportedly elected to remove the “interim” tag from offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and give him the job full-time.
Shurmur was named the Vikings’ offensive coordinator in the wake of Norv Turner’s resignation following the loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 8. Shurmur was brought in during the offseason to be the tight ends coach, but it was thought that he and offensive line coach Tony Sporano would have input into the offensive game plan after the team’s struggles on that side of the ball in 2015.
The offense looked quite a bit different under Shurmur than it did under Turner. Gone were a lot of the seven-step drops that were a staple of Turner’s offense, and in its place we saw more of a short, controlled passing game. That shift allowed Sam Bradford to set the NFL’s single-season completion percentage record, as he completed 71.6% of his throws, and also posted an outstanding touchdown-to-interception ratio of 20/5.
Despite what Bradford accomplished this past season, the Vikings’ offense only manage to generate 20.4 points/game, among the lowest figures in the NFL. The team didn’t seem to have much trouble moving the ball between the 20s, but would consistently bog down in the red zone and be forced to settle for field goals. This is a problem that Shurmur will have to work on, and hopefully a full offseason to install his offense with a quarterback that he seems to work well with could do quite a bit to help that.
None of it will matter, though, if the Vikings don’t fix their terrible offensive line. The weak point of the team in 2015 was even weaker this past season, and it appears that the “Minnesota Moving Company” (™ Paul Allen) is going to need a full-fledged remodel this offseason. With a couple of moves, the Vikings should have sufficient money to go after help in free agency, and will likely spend significant draft capital on the line as well.
This also does not appear to bode well for the future of running back Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. Shurmur’s offense doesn’t really call for a back that doesn’t work well out of the shotgun and is a liability in the passing game, so if Peterson’s days with the Vikings weren’t numbered already, it appears they certainly are now.
What are your impressions of the Vikings making Pat Shurmur their full-time offensive coordinator?