Hartman: Count on an entertaining Vikings offense under Turner

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 7, 2014 - 12:18 AM

Rich Gannon believes the Vikings will shine both on the ground and in the air with Norv Turner calling plays.

Mark down Rich Gannon as a big supporter of Norv Turner, the new offensive coordinator for the Vikings.

And in my opinion, Turner will be coaching both Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel as the Vikings quarterbacks this fall. The Vikings have so many holes on defense that I expect them to take a defensive player with their first pick in the draft and then take a quarterback in later rounds.

The Vikings will not bring back free agent Josh Freeman, though, after playing him in only one game last year following his release from Tampa Bay.

As for Gannon, the former Vikings quarterback won the NFL MVP with Oakland in 2002. In 2004, his final year, Turner became Raiders coach.

“People in Minnesota are going to love Norv Turner,” said Gannon, who has done games for CBS since 2005. “I think he’s aggressive, likes to push the ball down the field, but if you really study him, he has had a lot of success with some great backs.

“You go back to his days with [Emmitt Smith] in Dallas, you go Stephen Davis had a terrific couple of seasons with him in Washington, you look at LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego. I think there’s a misconception out there that he’s all about throwing the football, but believe me, Adrian Peterson is still going to be a busy boy in Norv’s offense.”

Asked what he learned from Turner, Gannon noted that 2004 was his 17th NFL season but said, “He taught me some different concepts in the passing game. He had a much different approach as a play-caller. I think he sees the game through the eyes of the quarterback. I think he likes to be aggressive, likes to push the ball down the field. I don’t know that there’s a quarterback out there that doesn’t like to throw the ball down the field. I think it’s going to be a wide-open, entertaining offense for Vikings fans.”

Gannon said he talked to Turner the day Turner accepted the position under Mike Zimmer but that Turner didn’t get into specifics.

“Basically he said he was excited to come to Minnesota and he has a lot more research to do,” Gannon said. “He wants to go back and look at all the game tape from a year ago, really study the quarterback situation, I think he wants to get to visit with these guys, know them personally,”

Gannon rates QBs

Gannon was asked his opinion of Ponder.

“Christian Ponder has a chance to be a decent player,” he said. “I don’t know that he’s ever going to be a dynamic, Pro Bowl player, but I don’t know that he’s going to get the chance in Minnesota.

“I think it’s probably time for him to move on, I think the team will move on from him. Unfortunately I think sometimes you have to go somewhere else. I had to leave Minnesota to go somewhere to get an opportunity. I think given the right circumstances, the right team around him, the right coaches, I think he has a chance to be a decent player. But I think the Vikings will probably move on.”

Regarding Cassel, whom I expect to return to the Vikings despite opting for free agency, Gannon said: “Matt is the one guy on that scheme that will probably remain. … I think they like Matt Cassel. I think they’ll probably bring in some competition whether it’s a free agent or a draft pick. Of Freeman, Cassel and Ponder, I think Cassel has the best chance to remain.”

White worst pick ever

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey is on record describing Royce White as the worst draft pick ever in the NBA.

The Rockets took the former Gophers and Iowa State forward from Hopkins High School with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft.

“I take some sort of pride that you could argue that Royce White is the worst first-round pick ever,” Morey said in a Q & A discussion with Rockets season-ticket holders, according to the ClutchFans.net blog. Morey added: “He’s the only one [of the top draft choices] that never played a minute in the NBA that wasn’t just a foreign guy staying in Europe.”

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