Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has experience in the West Coast offense as an NFL player and coach, but he's also has worked in other systems, most recently with Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.
Naturally, the key question for Musgrave is what style of offense he'll run with the Vikings. In a conference call with beat reporters Thursday, Musgrave described the system he'll install as a blend of different ideas and concepts.
"It will definitely be the Minnesota Vikings system," he said. "It will have its roots in language, I’m sure, from my history with coach [Mike] Shanahan and most recently from my experience with Mike Mularkey. There will be some language that our guys will recognize right off the bat because it will have some West Coast roots, and it will have some formations and protections that are more along the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, which we ran down here in Atlanta with coach Mularkey."
The West Coast offense is known for its extensive verbiage, but Musgrave said that will not be a part of his offense.
"One thing I believe in is minimal verbiage, and we’ll make it very streamlined, we’ll make the formations easy to learn for the guys, because I believe in players playing fast," he said. "We don’t want them out there thinking what word was used for this or that. I know with the group of coaches that Les has put together we’ll put together a system that is easy for those guys to digest, and they’ll go out and cut it loose."
Leslie Frazier said a big part of his decision to hire Musgrave was his background developing quarterbacks. He worked with Matt Schaub at the University of Virginia and most recently helped Atlanta's Matt Ryan become a Pro Bowl quarterback.
"Ideally, you would like to find a young guy that has a bunch of promise and potential and you would hand him the keys and let him make his mistakes and learn and but also know that he would be there for you in the long term," Musgrave said. "That’s ideal. I believe that will be one of our goals to identify any candidates that can fit that role but at the same time be ready to find some other fellows that may have some experience, that can come in and be effective and also have some upside to them as well."
Musgrave was asked whether the Vikings line will continue to use zone-blocking schemes.
"There goes that question again -- which a lot of coaches make that mistake too, at least they have historically -- of thinking of schemes and plays that they prefer without thinking about the players that have to execute them," he said. "We’re going to do a fantastic job of putting our guys in the schemes that fit their talents."
Musgrave also addressed some of his past struggles as an offensive coordinator. He resigned after only four games as Carolina's play-caller in 2000 and his Jaguars offenses ranked near the bottom of the league in scoring.
"I think that I’m definitely a lifelong learner," he said. "I’ve tried to do my best from all my experiences to learn, not only as a player but as a coach. I think I’ve worked my tail off to learn from my mistakes and at the same time learn from my triumphs, which is a lot similar to when you’re a player. I think a quarterback learns a lot more from his interceptions than from his touchdown passes. As long as you can apply those lessons moving forward, you can continue to improve and gain better production year in and year out."
He was asked what he has learned specifically that will help him in his current role.
"I think a lot of those will be schematically, but a lot of those will be in teaching concepts and in being able to communicate various techniques to players in a more streamlined way," he said.