Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner
This is my first time in about ten years going away to training camp. Most teams are doing it at their home facility, this is really nice. I have been extremely impressed here with the facility, the university, the people, obviously the town. This is a great setting and a great environment to get our team ready to go play when we get ready to go play.
Q: The offensive line had some struggles last year. Are you confident in what you see in the offensive line right now?
A: You go in stages, and everything that we have done to this point is to go get ready to put the pads on, and we’ll put the pads on tomorrow. To me, that is where you get ready to go. I do not use the term “go play”. If you have got young players, you’ve got guys, it’s a new system. We are trying to get these guys ready to go win. When you watch the offensive line, they are playing at their best, at a high level, yes. They are good enough for us to go have success and that’s our most important thing: to get five guys to go play together as a unit, and play with a high level of consistency. It’s becoming the hardest place in the league to play because, obviously the pass rushes have become such a big deal and the different schemes, the variety of schemes you see, so that group really has to work together. I think Jeff Davidson does a fantastic job with them and I am confident that they will be a good group for us.
Q: Do you have your five guys?
A: We have five right now, the one thing that Coach Zimmer has stressed to everybody at every position, there’s is going to be great competition. We have a good group of young players that will be able to compete. Our goal is obviously that when we get going and play on opening day that we get the best five guys playing, and we have time to do that.
Q: How important is it to have all five for a third year?
A: I think playing together helps, but obviously in this league you have to put young players in. If a young player steps up and is capable, that’s not going to be a deterrent to keep him from playing. But I will say again that those five guys I’m very confident that they can play at a high level.
Q: Do you know when
A: Coach Zimmer did a good job with talking to everybody about leaving the medical stuff to him and the trainers. I am not a doctor and I am not a trainer. I know Cordarrelle is chomping at the bit. He wants to get going, so I hope it will be sooner than later.
Q: Out of the young guys, who has surprised you with their fitness level, conditioning wise and everything? Did anyone stand out?
A: I hope at this point, it is not a surprise, because that is what we expect. I thought the conditioning test was outstanding, I thought that the offensive guys were ready to go and have done a good job. You work hard to get them to a point, and it is kind of backwards when you take five weeks off, but I think our guys did a great job continuing to work during that five-week period.
Q: What has
A: The thing about being around those guys, and I am not going to name them all, it would take a little while, they want to be great, they want everyone around them to be great, and that’s the starting point. Their expectation level is so high in terms of wanting to go have success. That’s the thing that he and I have talked about the most, we are going to do everything we can to put him in a position to have success. He is still going to be in situations like he does, run over a guy or make a guy miss.
Q: How do you see Adrian Peterson’s progression getting him in space?
A: We are doing a lot of things now. Some of the things he does really well and some of the things he doesn’t do as well. That’s the coach’s job is to find out what he does best and let him do those things. We are going to try and not ask him to do things that he is not comfortable with, but there are enough things he does well as a receiver. I feel like he is going to make big plays in the passing game and that’s the two things that the backs do: they get in position to make big plays and then they give the quarterback an outlet when he is getting all of the pressure. I believe that Adrian will certainly be able to do that. He is an outstanding pass protector when you keep him in his element, we don’t want him blocking defensive ends we don’t want him blocking 280-pound. linebackers. When he is blocking the people that he should be blocking, he is very good in pass protection.
Q: What do you hope
A: It’s the same thing. We drafted the young man because we think he has an outstanding upside. We knew that it was going to be a process because he had never played running back, but I think he caught everyone’s eye and everyone’s attention ay how quickly he adjusted to everything while we are in shorts and jerseys. Now we are going to put the pads on. The same thing I said to Adrian – we are going to find the things that he does best. He is a very good receiver, he is good in space, he has the ability to get on the outside as a runner, and we are going to look at those things and see how he progresses. One of the guys who have been as impressive to me as anyone offensively is
Q: How many different things will
A: He is going to have to block and block. We talked the other night to our team, we need to have a physical presence. Jerome brings that type of presence, and we are still going to have a certain percentage of two backs in the backfield, or spread out with the two backs in the backfield, that personnel group, if it gives the team problems, we will not be able to use it. I think that there’s game situations where you need to have a fullback that can go pound it a little bit.
Q: Are you going to use Adrian more on third down?
A: That is yet to be determined. Obviously, we want to be a team that runs a lot of plays and the way you do that is to get first downs to me on first and second down. If he is getting a bunch of carries and playing a lot on first and second down, we have the ability to use Matt or potentially Jerick on third downs and we are certainly getting Adrian ready to play on third downs and that package, obviously, that includes two minute because you like his presence on the field.
Q: What have you seen from
A: It’s been outstanding. He’s worked really, really hard at it. I talked to three or four guys in Florida, three or four guys when he got back here that were working out with him every day. I don’t think that he has not really taken a vacation, he may have taken two or three days off. It’s still is a lot for a young guy as we have a lot of volume in our offense. He’s worked extremely hard and has been handling it really well. When he is playing there is going to be a different set of things we do than when Matt (Cassel) is playing even in terms of what we even do out here because they have different strengths and weaknesses. It gives us a chance to really look at a lot of different things and become a complete offense.
Q: Do you feel like you got a steal getting Teddy Bridgewater late in the first round?
A: I don’t know, I told some other people, when I was in San Diego in 2001 we drafted LaDainian Tomlinson, made a trade with Atlanta, it might have been the fourth pick in the draft and we were pretty confident and hoping that Drew Brees would be there with the first pick of the second round, he was, and we drafted him. At the time people didn’t think Drew was tall enough, didn’t throw the ball hard enough, didn’t think the way he played in college transferred over to this league and time has shown that pick was a great pick. I think that Teddy was available and we made the trade to get him, we certainly thought that was the right thing to do and time will tell if that was a steal.
Q: You have worked with a lot of successful tight ends; how good do you think
A: Of all the guys, and again, this group has worked extremely hard, he’s has worked as hard as anyone in this organization and he is getting himself ready to have a great year. I am continuing to try to get a feel for Kyle because he is a little different than guys I have been around. He is a great target for the quarterbacks. Those guys (tight ends) tend to be a security blanket for the quarterback. I like to think that they know where they are all of the time and they catch a lot of balls, sometimes they catch a five or six-yard gain but that’s better than a sack. The thing Kyle has done is get up the field and he is running better than he has been in the past. I think he is understanding that we are trying to change his style of running in terms of routes and he is taking to it. I expect him to be a big part of what we do offensively.
Q. What can you tell the fans about the offense this year?
A: It’s all about what you’re trying to do. I read a quote a month ago, we are making a lot of plans to get better and the defense has something to do with those plans. When we are playing the way we are capable of playing, we are going to be a physical running team, we’re going to be a power running team. Hopefully we can be a team that creates explosive plays. That’s explosive plays in the passing game, explosive plays for the backs whether that be runs or screens. Obviously, what you have to do in this league now, you have to go score points. That is what we are working on right now, finding every different way we can move the ball and score points.
Q: What is changing about Kyle’s route running mechanically?
A: I just think it’s a mindset about the way we run routes. The way he has been running routes has been the stop and change direction, a lot moves at the top of routes, cutting, stopping to cut. We try to keep him on the move a little bit more with a quicker change of direction, running out of breaks as we say, not turning and looking for the ball because we know where the ball is going to be placed. I think some of it is technical stuff and he has taken to it well.
Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards
Hey guys, it’s good to be back here at camp. I will tell you what, this is a nice facility, one of the best facilities off site that I have done camp at. It’s really has been great, hopefully this rain holds off for us today so we can get another good day of practice in. I know it is early in the process, and we have some unanswered questions on our side of the ball, but we are pleased at where the guys have come in and where they are working at right now. We are excited to get out here for another good day today and hopefully get better.
Q: What are the unanswered questions for you?
A: I think we have got a lot of competition at a lot of different positions, really everywhere. At linebacker, at safety, on the defensive line, we are rotating guys in there, we have some guys that have some ability to add different skill sets to it. This will be a good process for us, especially tomorrow, when we finally get in pads to be able to get a better evaluation of them. Pretty much the practice schedule has been the same as this offseason like OTA’s in the shorts and those kind of things. We are really pleased with the retention they came in and the attention to detail they did on the first day, and hopefully we get some carryover to today and keep progressing as we go through each day.
Q: Where is the mix in the linebacker core as you see it?
A: We are rotating a lot of different guys in a lot of different areas. We still haven’t set that this guy is at this position or this guy is playing Mike, or this guy is playing the Sam or outside backer. Right now this will be a process as we keep going through camp and like anything, being able to consistently do your job at a high level every day, we will find that out here in training camp, because the dog days of camp, they are tough, you have to be mentally, emotionally, and physically tough to be able to handle the workload we are getting ready to go through. We like the competition, we like the guys that we have got, we know it will work itself out in the end. We are just good to have those guys that are going to be here competing every day.
Q: How usual is it at this point, training camp is open and you are still trying to determine whether guys, starting or not, just trying to determine their position?
A: It’s not so much, we know primarily where we are starting to play guys. It is just a matter of the Mike position, because it is such a hard position to play as far as most of those guys with the banging they have to do in there and the route matchups and those sorts of things. Seeing the different skill sets, we think we have a good group of Mike linebackers. We just want to see who is going to come to the top competition wise and win out the position. Going into camp that is what you want as a coach, you want things to be unsettled, and guys to go out there and work hard every day. Competition is just going to bring out the best in all of them so we are excited about that right now.
Q: What do you like about
A: We are excited about Corey (Wootton), he came in yesterday, we haven’t been in pads yet, but he has done a good job so far picking up what we have asked him to do this offseason, you can really see him coming off the hip injury and he looked yesterday he is moving about as good as we have seen him move. Towards the end of the offseason you could really see him starting to feel more comfortable coming off the injury. We are excited where he is at right now, and we look forward to getting him in pads here tomorrow, and keep progressing down the road.
Q: Given that Greenway is the most veteran of the linebacker core, will he be the guy that is making the calls for you and that he is out in the nickel too?
A: It may pan out that way, it just depends. One thing about Chad, like you said, you know what you are getting every day with Chad. He is a hard worker, he is a pro, he’s always prepared, those kinds of things. His communication in and out of the huddle right now has been very beneficial to everybody else, to sort of calm the storm when we start getting all of these shifts and motions and all of these different formations and those kinds of things. Right now he is a really big part, a cog in there as far as the communication part of our defense.
A: We just want to see him continually get better. The one thing that has been a good characteristic for him is that if he makes a mistake, he usually doesn’t make the same mistake twice. The big thing for him is now getting acclimated, getting in pads, us getting a chance to see him in pads, playing with good leverage, those kinds of things. Right now he has good retention from what we taught him in the offseason coming in, he didn’t get as many reps because he missed most of the offseason. We just want to see him continue to get better each day, especially when we get into the pads and those kinds of things, to come out here and show consistency day in and day out.
Q: Does he have a special skill set, maybe some of the other linebackers don’t have as a far as the pass rush game?
A: We really like what we saw of him rushing in college, we like the possibility of getting him in some matchups, in some rush situations. From that aspect of it, yes we are excited about him having that unique skill set at that position, because now all of a sudden you get to rush him against some of the things people are doing protection wise, getting him in a position to really have some success. We are excited with the skill set that he has got, he has really shown the flash, you have seen him get into positions that other guys haven’t been able to. So from that aspect of it, we just want to see him grow and be consistent as we keep going through camp.
Q: Do you look at him in the Nickel at all just from the dropping back aspect?
A: Yeah, we have used him all over. As a linebacker, of course you see him drop all the time, in certain pressures and those kind of things where we have had him at a rush end, he has dropped. From the aspect of it we are just really working him through it right now and seeing skill set wise where we are going to predominantly play him most of the times. We will be in and out of a lot of different packages to take advantage of our personnel.
Q: For defense what do you see that needs to happen to turn around the pass coverage problems from the past few years?
A: Well, schematically I think we are going to be a little bit different. Like I said, I wasn’t here last year so I don’t know so I don’t know exactly everything that was being told and what they were asked to do, but you know from the aspect now. We’re up there, we are trying to challenge routes each and every time. The big thing is, you know like Coach Zimmer says, is tackling. You’ve got to be able to get on and off blocks and make tackles and limit the gain after first contact, limit the gain after if they do catch the ball. In that aspect those are the things that we are emphasizing, the fundamentals and techniques of really trying to get in good position to go compete for every ball. I mean we want no uncontested throws, so we want to be right up there on the receivers and limit those windows those quarterbacks have to throw it
A: Yeah, we think so you know he’s been healthy throughout the off season and he’s done a good job for us. You know, just yesterday was the first day we had him, but as we keep progressing down the road we look for him to keep progressing. His health hasn’t been an issue this off season or coming here this first day of camp, so hopefully he will continue on with the progress for the rest of preseason.
Q: Coach Zimmer was talking yesterday about how
A: It’s critical. I mean, those are the guys that don’t get a lot of credit but I’ll tell you what now, being inside and taking on blocks, that job is as important as any. I mean everything is tied together, it starts right there with him. If you’re getting a lot of movement on your nose then that means that they are getting up linebacker is pretty quick like, so having a nose guard sit in there battling and be able to move his feet when they start running sideways, it’s critical. That’s a critical position for us, so from that aspect you can tell a difference with him in there yesterday for the first time back getting healthy and moving around inside. So we are excited to see him as he progresses through camp.
Q: What would you like to see from
A: Well, Sharrif we just want to see continue to build on where we left from the offseason. Again, we haven’t been in pads yet, so as we go in the pads hopefully everything will transfer over from the work that we have seen him do in this offseason and the first day. We just want to continually see him get better. We want to see him being able to transition from run into pass, be able to get pressured in the pocket, up inside against the quarterback making him move his feet, those kinds of things. So from that aspect, we want him to just continue on the same path and continue to keep getting better, especially as we go into pads here the next day.
Q: He said that he lost about 15 pounds, is that a good thing?
A: Yeah it’s a good thing. We think it’s a good thing. You can see him moving around. His athleticism. You can see those things a show up lot more now that he’s lost some weight.
I think he feels good at it. I mean one thing about it is we know he is strong enough at the point to be able to hold the point and we will get started with those things tomorrow but just the block recognition, we want just to see him continue to get better at those things and improve in that area.
A: The one thing about it, as we get going, we’ve only had one day of practice but again as we start moving down the road it’ll sort of show it’s hand. I mean, what he brings to the table. I mean you can see he is going to be attentive, he’s going to be paying attention to details, he’s going to compete, he’s going to know what’s going on, he does a good at communicating. So from that aspect we just need to see it at a consistent level.
A: Both of them play with a high motor, so far we haven’t been in pads, yet again but they both play with a high motor and we want to just see that transition to consistency every day. They do a good job with setting the point on the edge, they both have bought in to what we were asking them to do fundamentally and technique wise so from that aspect we are excited where we are. We are just looking forward to keep progressing with them.
Q: With Jamarca Sanford do you see that coverage ability that you’re looking for when you have him next to
A: Yeah, I mean both of the safeties have to be able to play middle of the field and be able to come down in the box. Right now, he’s exhibiting those traits so we are excited for where he is right now, but it’s a good group of safeties that are competing right there to play with him right now. So from that aspect of it, the consistency part of it day in and day out as we go through camp as we go through the preseason those are going to be critical factors as we get to the end and make the final decision.
Q: From the skill set perspective what does
A: Kurt (Coleman) is a tough, physical, safety and you know that he’s played at Philadelphia. He’s done some good things there and right now he’s done a good job in picking up what we are asking him to do schematically, he does a good job of communicating and knowing where everybody’s got to fit and everything, he is a true pro. So he brings a different skill set to that position and we are excited where he is right now look forward to seeing him as we progress through training camp and going out and competing each day.
Q: How is Kurt Coleman in coverage?
A: He’s doing good in coverage, he understands the leverage points, he understands the concepts that we’re teaching and then what the offense is trying to do against him to try to beat the leverage that we have in the coverage, so from that aspect of it he comes and he competes every day so if something good or bad happens he’s right there he’s competing. That’s what we’re asking for, that’s what we’re looking for, and that’s what he has given us every day.