When Pat Shurmur came to the Minnesota Vikings to be the tight ends coach. . .and Norv Turner’s understudy as offensive coordinator (even if that wasn’t explicitly stated). . .things looked a lot different for the Vikings’ offense than they do now. The Vikings were expecting to roll out an offense led by Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson, along with a re-tooled offensive line after that unit had been pretty bad the previous season. After Bridgewater’s horrific knee injury, the team brought in Sam Bradford at a high price because they still expected to be a contender in the NFC. Then Turner jumped ship, and the team needed to adjust on the fly to Shurmur’s scheme. . .a transition that did not go well, particularly with the tire fire that was the Vikings’ 2016 offensive line.
This season, the Vikings have continued to deal with injuries on offense, most notably to Bradford, rookie sensation Dalvin Cook, and receiver Stefon Diggs. Despite that, however, Shurmur’s offense looks significantly better in his first full season as the team’s offensive coordinator, and you have to wonder if Shurmur might be coaching his way into another chance to be the man in charge on the sideline.
Shurmur has been a head coach in the NFL before, having served in that capacity for the Cleveland Browns in 2011 and 2012. He had a record of just 9-23 in those two seasons, but. . .I mean, I don’t like to bad-mouth most other franchises, but come on. The guy’s two primary starting quarterbacks were Colt McCoy (2011) and Brandon Weeden (2012). Bill Walsh would have trouble winning in that sort of situation.
But Shurmur, despite the injury issues the Vikings have dealt with, has kept this offense moving by tailoring things to the strengths of his players. . .a novel concept, and one that the Vikings had completely avoided for the better part of the last decade or so. Shurmur’s play calling this year has been very good, for the most part, and he has allowed players like Adam Thielen and Jerick McKinnon to flourish in the roles they’ve been given. Even quarterback Case Keenum, who could be described as a journeyman backup, has put together the best season of his NFL career since taking over the offensive reins.
There are a lot of people that feel that a transition back to Bridgewater could make Shurmur’s offense even more lethal, and I have to admit that seeing Bridgewater run Pat Shurmur’s offense would be a sight to behold because it plays to his strengths so well. Of course, such an offensive explosion would only serve to enhance Shurmur’s potential job prospects.
There are going to be plenty of head coaching openings that come up in the National Football League at the conclusion of this season. If Pat Shurmur can continue adjusting his offense and propelling the Vikings towards the post-season, it’s very possible that he could find himself in line for one of those opportunities. While it would definitely be a significant loss for the Vikings, it would be tough to blame the man for wanting to erase his first NFL head coaching stint.