There was celebration from Vikings followers and approval from much of the local sports media when Norv Turner was pushed aside as the offensive coordinator on Nov. 2.
The claim at Winter Park remains that coach Mike Zimmer and the organization were “shocked’’ by Turner’s resignation.
You’re telling Norv that his offensive philosophy doesn’t work, and assistant Pat Shurmur has better ideas, and then it’s a shock when a veteran football man decides to move along?
The most hilarious conversation I heard was on a popular FM sports station, where the host and a former player were trying to pin the 22-16 home loss to Detroit on Turner.
They found it unconscionable Norv had quit in midweek and left the Vikings hanging, while also praising the quick throws of Air Shurmur.
They weren’t alone in trying to have it both ways: Some reporters lobbying for Norv’s playbook to be trashed later offered his departure as an excuse for a bad November.
The Vikings were 5-2 and on a two-game losing streak when Norv was nudged aside. They are 1-3 with Shurmur’s offensive approach, which on Thursday appeared to be this:
Any completion is a good completion, even if it’s 4 yards in front of the sticks on third down and with two defenders in the vicinity.
This wasn’t the old Jerry Burns philosophy of taking what the defense will give you. This was a philosophy of taking what the defense wanted you to take.
Sam Bradford is completing an astounding 77.9 percent of his passes (113 of 145) in the four games with Shurmur calling plays. This included 31 of 37 in the 16-13 loss to the Lions.
Here’s something more astounding than the Air Shurmur completion rate:
The Vikings offense has been responsible for scoring 16, 20, 16 and 13 points in that time. The 20 came in a five-minute burst against bumbling Washington, and then the Redskins shut out the Vikings in the second half.
The Vikings, the media and the fans didn’t want you anymore, Norv, but now they would like to blame you for contributing to a 1-3 November.
PLUS THREE FROM PATRICK
Deserving Turkeys who didn’t make the cut for Thursday’s banquet:
Kevin Garnett: After closing his career as a seldom-seen Timberwolf, he still hasn’t shown up to say goodbye to his adoring Minnesota fans.
Marlene Stollings: Couldn’t win in U hoops with Rachel Banham. Reason: No demand for defense.
U.S. Bank Stadium: Opulent strictly for sake of opulence; dedicated to minting millions for Vikings, not serving customers.
Read Patrick Reusse’s blog at startribune.com/patrick. E-mail him at email@example.com.