We’re sensing a pattern here. A day after coach Mike Zimmer said he’s not going to announce who his starting quarterback will be this week, offensive coordinator Norv Turner also didn’t say whether Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford will start at quarterback in the season opener at Tennessee on Sunday.
Apparently, they’d rather keep the Titans guessing, or the Vikings’ coaching staff is still cramming information into Bradford’s head to see how much stays in there and how much leaks out the other side.
There are two sizeable hurdles to trading for a quarterback on a Saturday and having him start an NFL game eight days later. One is the verbiage involved in learning the game plan and the offense, Turner said. The other is taking all of that meeting room paperwork and applying it on the field with 10 teammates you barely know.
“A lot of people run a lot of the same plays,” Turner said. “It’s the verbiage and knowing which words go with which plays. But then getting on the field, it might be the same play but our guys might do it differently than where he was before. So it’s getting caught up with our personnel more than anything else.
“I think the verbiage part of it, because he’s a veteran, and learning the system and the plays is the easier part than getting in sync with the guys on the field on a play-to-play basis.”
Even Turner admits if Bradford starts or plays, he’ll operate a pared down version of this week’s game plan. Turner said it helps that it’s Week 1, which means the game plan was in place before Bradford showed up on Saturday.
“We’ve got to do things he’s comfortable with,” said Turner, further noting that Bradford was more comfortable Wednesday than he was during Monday’s practice. “There are things we’re doing here that he did in Philadelphia. But he’s got to learn our code names and things like that. But I think we’ve found a way to run our offense. When Adrian [Peterson] is going and playing, we do know that it starts with him. And then we build plays off of that. That’s the approach we’re going to take whether it’s Shaun or Sam.”
The tentative plan going into the week was to start Hill in the opener and transition to Bradford in Week 2. But the Vikings also have to have Bradford ready to play in case Hill is injured. Two years ago, Hill started for the Rams against the Vikings after Hill was injured in the preseason. Hill was injured in that 34-6 loss to the Vikings and missed two months.