Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Heads spinning a little slower in the Vikings' huddle

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated: June 12, 2014 - 6:51 AM

A month and a half ago, when many Vikings veterans arrived in Winter Park for the start of new head coach Mike Zimmer’s voluntary offseason program, wide receiver Greg Jennings spoke about how offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offense was making everybody’s heads spin.

Unfamiliar formations. Different plays and concepts. Foreign terminology.

So where does the offense stand now, a week out from mandatory minicamp and a month and a half away from the start of training camp? Have things slowed down at all for those players?

A little bit, says Zimmer. But that’s OK.

“We’re giving them a big, broad picture of a lot of different things and what we’ll try to do is narrow it down to figure out what these guys can do best, and then narrow it down,” Zimmer said after yesterday’s OTA practice. “Right now, it’s put this in and put that in and see how much they can handle, see what things they’re good at. And then we’ll start scoping it back down.”

Zimmer was suggesting that the coaching staff will start to simplify things for the offense and perhaps pare down the playbook to what will suit the personnel best. Zimmer has said that both the offense and defensive schemes will be retaught during training camp.

“We’ll narrow it down to what we feel like we do best for our players and for the quarterbacks. And for Adrian obviously,” Zimmer said, referring to running back Adrian Peterson, of course.

As for the surprisingly fiery Turner, Zimmer said that “one of the great things about Norv” is he understands which players to get the ball, too, and how to counter defensive matchups. He said Turner’s flexibility with play calls, personnel and formations has kept his defense on its toes.

 “He’s got a lot of different things for the defense to practice against,” Zimmer said.

Needless to say, the offensive players, their heads spinning a little slower, like Turner’s scheme.

“I’m loving the offensive coordinator we have here, Norv Turner,” wide receiver Jerome Simpson said. “I’m just excited to see what we can do with this.”

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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 NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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