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Vikings 2011: Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave

  • September 9, 2011 - 1:05 AM
New Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave directs a system that prides itself on flexibility, encourages broad input and creates ear-to-ear smiles for the players being asked to execute it.

"I think we're going to have a lot of fun," said receiver Percy Harvin, one of Musgrave's more creative puzzle pieces.

Whether Musgrave's offense is successful remains to be seen. But it's clear the players will have an unfamiliar say in the direction it takes each week.

During the preseason, Musgrave presented each position group with a set of plays for different downs and distances. The players got to choose their two favorite plays. Musgrave then took the input, molded it together and set his play calls accordingly.

"We appreciate the flexibility when coaches take in what players are suggesting a lot of times," receiver Bernard Berrian said. "Bill is really great at doing that."

It's not something most of the players on this year's roster are accustomed to. Former Vikings coach Brad Childress believed that players should adhere to the structure of the West Coast offense. And while quarterback Donovan McNabb is new to Minnesota, he also clashed last year with the more rigid approach under Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Vikings players have pointed to Musgrave's NFL playing experience as a key in helping him as a coordinator. Musgrave backed up Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana, Steve Young and John Elway during a six-year career (1991-96).

"Bill understands the strengths of a lot of players, and he wants to feed into that," McNabb said. "You know when you have [running backs] Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart and Lorenzo Booker, different plays really reflect on the different types of athlete they really are. He gets Percy Harvin into great positions, getting [tight end] Kyle Rudolph into position. Using that strength to the best of our ability."

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