This week, NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks listed off, in his opinion, the top 20 coordinators in the NFL. The former NFL linebacker and scout has Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner ranked high on his list.
Turner was selected as the third best coordinator in the NFL, behind Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Turner, who will enter his 31st season coaching in the NFL, was one of the big reasons why the Vikings received plenty of praise this time last year for the quality of assistant coaches on Mike Zimmer’s staff.
“The veteran offensive guru is known as one of the top quarterback developers in the business, but coaches within the NFL community also rave about his clever utilization of top running backs and his uncanny ability to get big-time production from the tight end position,” Brooks said. “Turner fully maximizes the talent at his disposal to create an offense that is balanced, diverse and explosive in every aspect.”
This comes after a season in which Turner’s playbook changed completely from where it was during training camp. Turner dealt with the suspension of running back Adrian Peterson for all but one game. The Vikings lost quarterback Matt Cassel, right guard Brandon Fusco, left guard Phil Loadholt, running back Jerick McKinnon and tight end Kyle Rudolph due to injuries at some point during the season.
Now, this offense appears deeper with the return of Peterson in the backfield, the addition of Mike Wallace at wide receiver and the draft selections of tight end MyCole Pruitt, wide receiver Stefon Diggs and offensive linemen T.J. Clemmings, Tyrus Thompson and Austin Shepherd.
Turner, 63, has the pieces on offense to flourish even when the Vikings cope with injuries later in the season. It also makes you wonder whether Turner could get another shot as a head coach if he shines with the Vikings. He served as Washington’s head coach from 1994-2000, then coached the Raiders from 2004-05 and his last head coaching stint was with the Chargers from 2007-2012.
Who knows if that’ll happen down the road, but Zimmer is fortunate to have one of the best offensive minds in the NFL right now to complement his defensive mentality.