Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner proved a year ago that you can indeed teach a new trick to an old dog. In his 30th season in the NFL and first as Vikings offensive coordinator, the ever-evolving Turner called 39 zone read plays, which, according to ESPN’s research, ranked 11th in the league.
“There are going to be new things that come into the league,” Turner said. “For a few years, the run-and-shoot was the rage. And it kind of died out. The read option [zone read] is something now that’s probably a little bit of what everybody is doing.
“I think it’s always a good mix to have new things and then basics. But the one thing that hasn’t changed and never will change is you have to be fundamentally sound in what you do. If a guy is running open and we don’t block, throw or catch, it doesn’t matter what you call things.”
Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards said the zone read still causes “some uneasiness” among defenders even a couple of seasons into its run of success.
“It’s almost like preparing for the wishbone in college,” he said. “You don’t see it a whole lot, and all of a sudden you’re playing it. You just have to adjust to it, and we will adjust to it. And once you shut something like that down, it usually gets stopped throughout the league and teams go back to the basic roots of what it is they used to do.”