Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner talked about the 2010 NFL draft, when Sam Bradford, the team’s new quarterback, was selected first overall by the Rams.
“I think he was a unanimous pick, and I think everyone had him rated there,” said Turner, who was head coach of San Diego in 2010. “I think the big thing was the great arm. You know, the quick release, make all the throws, he was an outstanding player in college.
“We evaluated all the quarterbacks. We weren’t in the market for drafting one that year, but if we would have, we’d have loved to have had him.”
Turner talked about what he has thought of Bradford so far, including his 22-for-31, 286-yard, two-touchdown performance in the victory over Green Bay on Sunday.
“Very impressed,” Turner said. “He’s everything you look for in a quarterback. I think he’s a great passer, and I think he makes great decisions. That combination is what you need in a good quarterback. He can change his delivery, and he can speed up when he needs to.
“He’s got great presence in the pocket. I coached a guy like that for six years in [San Diego’s] Philip Rivers. They play the game differently. They get rid of the ball quick, and they have great pocket presence.”
Although there was some early concern about how quickly Bradford could learn the Vikings system, coming in only one week before the start of the season, Turner said what he’s seen of Bradford put those worries to rest.
“What I see is a guy who’s very experienced,” he said. “He’s been around this league and he knows what it’s about and he knows how to prepare. He can still do it. He finished the last eight games last year and was very impressive.”
Turner also addressed the trade that brought Bradford to the Vikings
“It’s just a really unusual circumstance,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ve gotten over the situation we’re in, but it’s unbelievable to have the opportunity to get Sam here.”
The good news for the Vikings is that they still have Shaun Hill as a backup, whom Turner praised.
“He’s just Mr. Steady,” Turner said. “He is so consistent, he’s a pro, he’s been doing this quite a while. I coached him in 2006 in San Francisco, and I’ll tell you, he approached it the same way then, and that’s why he’s had a long career.”
Carolina on Diggs
Luke Kuechly, the Carolina Panthers linebacker who is one of the best defensive players in the league, told the Charlotte Observer this week that, “Stefon Diggs is a beast.”
Yes, Diggs, a second-year receiver for the Vikings, is the talk of a lot of the NFL after being named NFC offensive player of the week following his nine-reception, 182-yard performance against the Packers.
Diggs leads the NFL with 285 receiving yards and his four receptions of 20-plus yards are tied for fourth.
Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott had this to say about Diggs: “A dangerous receiver. You’ve got to know where he is every play. Certainly, he has a nice little connection with Bradford, it appears. He’s carved out a nice little career for himself so far.”
The Observer pointed out perhaps the Vikings’ favorite aspect of Diggs’ success: He’s still on his four-year, $2.5 million rookie contract as a fifth-round pick in 2015.
Claeys like RB spot
The Gophers rank third in the Big Ten and 33rd in the nation in rushing yards per game at 221.0, and that only figures to get better with the imminent return of Shannon Brooks, who started and starred last year.
“Shannon has been cleared to play and so he practiced a little bit on Tuesday and [Wednesday] he’ll go full go and on Thursday we’ll see if he has any soreness,” coach Tracy Claeys said. “If he gets through this week feeling good, then we’re going to go ahead and play him. If he’s a little sore after practicing, then we may wait a week.”
The Gophers surely are feeling great about the addition of Brooks because of the great early play of Rodney Smith, who has 203 yards rushing on 42 carries and three touchdowns, and Kobe McCrary, the junior college transfer who has 183 yards rushing on 19 carries with two scores.
“Yeah we really are [feeling good],” Claeys said. “The way Rodney has played and Kobe coming along and playing and then with Shannon coming back, we’ve worked on some things and we’ll continue to work on a few things with more than one of them being on the field at the same time to take advantage of that.”
The biggest surprise has been McCrary, whose 9.5 yards per carry are tied for the fourth-highest total in major college football among qualified rushers.
“Kobe has played really well, and the pass protection, too,” Claeys said. “He has done a great job blocking the blitzes, and that’s the one thing I wasn’t sure how he would do coming out of junior college.”
• There was another big endorsement of Bradford by Vikings guard Alex Boone, who made the front page of USA Today with this quote: “That dude is one tough [expletive]. There was a couple times he got hit — I thought he was dead. He wasn’t moving, so I had to pick him up. I’m like, ‘Sam, don’t be dead.’ ”
• Packers guard T.J. Lang said U.S. Bank Stadium was “not as consistently” loud as the Metrodome. Still, he said the stadium was in the top three loudest in the NFL.
• Former Vikings receiver Mike Wallace is playing for the Ravens the way Minnesota hoped he would play here. Wallace has seven receptions for 132 yards and three touchdowns in two games. He caught two TD passes all of last season. … Speaking of great receiver play, former Gophers wideout Eric Decker caught six passes for 126 yards and a TD in the Jets’ 37-31 win over Buffalo last week.
• In the Jeff Sagarin college football ratings, the Gophers rate 57th in the nation, just ahead of Northwestern (1-2).
• Iowa managed only 34 yards rushing in its 23-21 home loss to North Dakota State. Adding insult to the loss to the FCS school was the fact that the Hawkeyes paid $500,000 to the Bison to play in Iowa City.
• Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino, who landed a big recruit in guard Jamir Harris on Wednesday, reported that the men’s basketball team posted a grade-point average of 3.20 in summer school courses and that the freshmen players had a 3.80 GPA.
• The Westgate Las Vegas Super Book released its annual over/under win totals for the upcoming NBA season, and the Wolves were marked at 41 ½, which means Vegas views them as being one of the eight best teams in the Western Conference. The last time the Wolves won 41 games was the 2004-05 season.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. firstname.lastname@example.org