INDIANAPOLIS — Coach Mike Zimmer said he didn’t bring in Pat Shurmur and Tony Sparano as assistant coaches just because they were once NFL head coaches. But he doesn’t think that experience is a bad thing.
“It’s guys who I have respect for as coaches,” Zimmer said. “It’s definitely a positive that they have been because they had to do this different ways and they may have some better ways than what we’re doing.”
Zimmer said that Shurmur, who will coach tight ends in 2016, will help the Vikings find their groove with Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson in their shotgun spread formations. Shurmur spent the past three years in Philadelphia working under Chip Kelly, who utilized the shotgun often.
Sparano, the new offensive line coach, will be leaned on to help make the Vikings better when Bridgewater is under center, Zimmer said, in addition, of course, to getting the offensive line straightened out.
Zimmer said the Vikings will try to remain balanced formationally, mixing shotgun and under-center formations to produce better results than what they had in 2015, when they finished 29th in the NFL in total offense.
But overall, Zimmer thought it was logical to bring in “smart guys” in Shurmur and Sparano to collaborate with coordinator Norv Turner.
“I think it’s good to get as much input as you can get because I don’t believe there is one way to do this,” Zimmer said. “That’s the biggest thing with me. I always think there’s a better way. Somebody in this league is doing stuff better than we are and we need to find that out and how it can help us.”