Hartman: Turner ready to give Vikings QBs a good look at minicamp

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 27, 2014 - 12:01 AM
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Norv Turner, coaching the Chargers, worked with star quarterback Philip Rivers during offseason workouts in May 2012. Now the Vikings offensive coordinator, Turner will get to work with his new team’s personnel during a three-day minicamp that begins Tuesday.

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Vikings new offensive coordinator Norv Turner has a reputation for developing quarterbacks, and he said he is looking forward to the three-day minicamp this week so he can get an idea about how Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel fit into the offensive scheme he will run this season.

Turner was asked what conclusions he has come to after studying a lot film of Ponder’s performances with the Vikings.

“He’s really bright and really into what we’re doing,” Turner said last week. “I know he’s physically talented so I’m anxious to do that minicamp next week and get an opportunity to work with him. I’ve been very impressed with him.”

As for his feelings on Cassel, Turner said: “Matt brings a real calming effect on our players and he is experienced. He’s obviously been in New England, been in Kansas City, played well here last year.

“Same thing I said about Ponder, I’m anxious to get on the field with these guys. Under the system of rules right now we haven’t been on the field, we’ve been in meetings. But I’m anxious to get out and coach these guys, teach them our system, make sure they understand the things we’re trying to get done. I think he’s a talented player, though.”

With the Vikings more apt to take a quarterback in the second or third round after taking a pass rusher such as UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr in the first round, Turner talked about the number of talented QBs in this draft.

“It’s an interesting draft because there’s usually one or two that is everyone’s favorite, and in this draft there are seven or eight quarterbacks, and everyone seems like they have a different guy they kind of like and everyone has a different guy they have an opinion on,” Turner said. “We finished a lot of our draft meetings offensively, and I think we’re pretty well zeroed in on the guys who are rated the highest. It’s a great opportunity for our organization and our football team. It’s going to be fun over the next couple of weeks.”

Turner, a former NFL head coach with Washington, Oakland and San Diego, said that if you look at the history of the draft over the past 10 years, there’s a lot of good quarterbacks who have come in middle-to-later rounds. He believes you can get one at any spot, though the team has to get the one they like the best and then hope they are right.

Happy with roster

On another subject, Turner said after breaking down film from last season that he expects the current Vikings offensive players on the team to fit into his scheme.

“I really like this group. I think we have a lot of options and a lot of opportunities,” he said. “It certainly starts with Adrian [Peterson], but we have a lot of guys that can complement his abilities, and hopefully we can take some pressure off so he has a little bit more room to run. But you know, we’ve got tight ends, we’ve got wide receivers, and we have some really good young football players.

“We have a lot of work to do. We have the nucleus as far as the offensive line, talked about the other positions, you know you just have to get everyone on the same page and go play. My starting point is you eliminate negative plays. That starts with turnovers and those negative plays that kill you, the sacks, if you can eliminate those, we have people who can make big plays. We have to put them in the position to do that.”

One player Turner said he’s looking forward to exploring offensive options with is receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

“I’m excited about Cordarelle because he’s an untapped talent,” Turner said. “He has great running ability. He runs, when he has the ball under his arm, he runs like a halfback, a big halfback. We have to find ways to get him the ball where he has space and can run, rather it’s short passes or hand him the ball or toss him the ball. He obviously can run so if we can get him on some of those deep crossing routes where he has room to run after the catch, I think it’ll be very exciting.”

Turner also said that while his offense will be different from the Vikings system in recent years under Bill Musgrave, that doesn’t mean that he can’t use last year as a building block for his offense.

“I think the first thing I would say is this group is a year further than last year,” Turner said. “So we have to build on what they did last year and we have to create more explosive plays. If you want to score points you have to make explosive plays and in my mind that’s run over 15 yards and passes over 20 yards, passes over 40 yards. I think we have the guys who can do it, so hopefully we can generate more explosive plays than they did a year ago.”

SID’s JOTTINGS

The rumors are that the Vikings will play only seven games at TCF Bank Stadium in 2015 and give up one home game to again play in London, as they did last year.

The Gophers have raised prices on season tickets for football from $275 to $330 for chair-back seats and from $275 to $310 for bench seats.

Twins first baseman Joe Mauer and Hall of Famer Dave Winfield will co-host the second annual Players Trust All-Star golf tournament, a charity event at Windsong Farm Golf Club in Independence on July 16, the day after the All-Star Game.

Justin Morneau entered Saturday on a nine-game hitting streak for Colorado, during which the former Twins star is hitting .395 with 15 hits, 15 RBI, four home runs and seven runs scored. … Former ESPN baseball reporter Peter Gammons recently wrote that Johan Santana, now with the Baltimore organization, has his velocity up to 85 miles per hour and is not far away from returning to pitching.

Add Duke to the list of schools that have offered Rice Lake, Wis., power forward Henry Ellenson a scholarship. Ellenson, the brother of former Gophers player Wally Ellenson, also has offers from the Gophers, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan State and Iowa State.

The Gophers had two athletes named players of the week in the Big Ten last week: Jose Mendez got the honor in golf after winning the Rutherford Intercollegiate tournament at Penn State with a 6-under-par 207. In baseball, Gophers shortstop Michael Handel got the award after recording six RBI, three runs scored, four doubles and a home run.

A Las Vegas sports book has Flip Saunders, Fred Hoiberg and Billy Donovan as the odds-on favorites to be the next Timberwolves coach, but Hoiberg has denied he will take the position and odds are definitely against Tom Izzo leaving the comfort of Michigan State.

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
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