Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner spoke on subjects ranging from Cordarrelle Patterson to the running game to returning to Dallas, where Turner won multiple titles as the Cowboys offensive coordinator, this weekend.
Here are some highlights:
On Patterson: It was inevitable Turner would be asked about the second-quarter interception Saturday against Oakland at TCF Bank Stadium, when quarterback Shaun Hill threw outside and Patterson cut inside. After the game Patterson stayed quiet and head coach Mike Zimmer, when asked if Patterson had run the wrong route, simply said, “Probably – if you were a betting man.”
Well, it was a safe bet that Turner would be a little less… confrontational on the subject. When asked about the interception Tuesday, here’s what he had to say: “It was an audible at the line of scrimmage,” he said. “And we didn’t communicate it as well as we need to. Communication is two parts. It’s getting the information out, and receiving the information. We got a route run wrong, and Shaun should probably have never thrown the ball.”
Turner was asked to evaluate Patterson’s performance Saturday, when he was targeted four times and had two receptions for eight yards. “It’s hard to evaluate guys in preseason games because of the limited number of plays they get,” he said. “I thought Cordarrelle was good in a lot of things. I think there are things we have to get better at.”
On returning to Big D: Turner downplayed the emotional impact of returning to Dallas for this week’s preseason game. It’s the city where he had so much success. “I think I've moved beyond that,” he said.
What sticks with him is the relationships he made with the coaches and players from those Cowboys title teams, he said. That’s why the Vikings playing in the Hall of Fame game this summer was such good timing. Turner got to be there to see Charles Haley’s induction. “I think the significance of winning a Super Bowl ... Obviously it’s the ultimate in this league. But it’s that thing you have 20 years later, 25 years later, with those guys who were involved.”
That’s why Turner had so much fun at Haley’s post-induction party, attended by many of those people. “It’s that feeling you have for each other, knowing what you accomplished and knowing what you went through to accomplish it.”
Adrian Peterson won’t be playing until the regular season. Still, does Turner want to see more efficiency out of his running game? The Vikings averaged just 2.7 yards on their 32 runs Saturday against Oakland. “I just want to see it keep getting better,” said Turner, who frankly didn’t sound very concerned. “I expect us to be a very good running team. Some of that will show up in the preseason and some of it won’t. People who know me know we don’t do a lot in the preseason in terms of scheme, and game-planning. We’re trying to work on the basics and fundamentals. I expect us to run the ball well. I think we’ll run it better than we did last year.”
Turner praised the play of tackle Matt Kalil, who has yet to allow a preseason sack. “He had a good offseason, a good training camp,” Turner said. “My evaluation is, did his guy affect the play in a negative way? And he’s had very few plays where his guy has had a negative effect on the play. I think he’s preparing himself to really have a strong year.”
Speaking of game-planning, might we see more of it in this preseason game. Traditionally teams use the second-to-last preseason game as something of a dress rehearsal, with the starters playing deeper into the game. Turner referred any specifics to the head coach. But: “There is a game where our guys play a little more, and maybe zero in on Dallas a little more. But it’s nowhere near what you’d do on an opening day, or the fifth game of the season, or the second time you play a team in your division. We’re working on ourselves, on things we need to do to get better for the regular season. Then, Thursday, we’ll work on Dallas a limited amount of time and then go play the game.”