Offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who is running the show today while coach Mike Zimmer is away from the team to be with his ailing father, just finished up his press conference a little bit ago. Some highlights:
— Zimmer will not be back in time for tonight’s practice at Blakeslee Stadium, according to a team spokesman. Turner said he has no plans to deviate from Zimmer’s practice script. “We’re rolling pretty good,” he said. “Coach Zimmer’s getting this team like he does it, the way he wants it. He’s creating an atmosphere where these guys really go hard and compete every day and they’re doing that.” With an off day tomorrow, the earliest Zimmer could be back on the field here in Mankato is Thursday morning.
— Center John Sullivan missed yesterday’s practice and today’s morning walkthrough while his wife was giving birth to a baby boy. “I haven’t heard a name. I don’t think it’s Norv,” Turner joked. Actually, the boy’s name is John Harris Sullivan. Speaking of Sullivan, Turner said he is having a “great camp,” adding that he is “playing really strong and really physical.” He also likes what he has seen from Zac Kerin, who got first-team reps yesterday, at least partially because the Vikings know what they have in Joe Berger.
— With Carter Bykowski hobbled, David Yankey has spent the past couple of days at left tackle. “It’s a hard adjustment just to throw him out there, but I thought he had two good days in a row,” Turner said. Turner said Yankey is stronger, which has in turn improved his quickness and technique.
— Turner was asked how this year’s wide receiver group stacks up with the ones he had in the past in terms of speed. Everyone knows about Mike Wallace’s wheels, but Cordarrelle Patterson, Jarius Wright and Charles Johnson also tested well in the 40-yard dash at their respective combines or pro days. “I have a hard time comparing players and comparing groups, but this group, I think we could put together a pretty good relay team,” he said.
— In the offseason, the Vikings moved young defensive tackle Isame Faciane to offensive guard. “He’s an outstanding athlete and I think Coach Zimmer felt that his best opportunity would be to play on offense,” Turner said. “When I was in San Diego — they did it before I got there — Kris Dielman went from defensive tackle to offense and became a Pro Bowl guard, so guys are able to do it.” But he added that Faciane has a long way to go.