With less than a week until the regular season kicks off, Jim Souhan of the *Star Tribune *locked in on Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner's interactions as he "strolled through" in the Winter Park locker room at the onset of his 31st NFL season and second in Minnesota.
*Well, "strolled" isn't exactly the right word. He half-limped, half-creaked — crimped? — across the room, looking exactly like what he is — a lifelong football coach. *
There is nothing glamorous about Turner, the Vikings offensive coordinator. He's made millions in the NFL, has stood on many podiums, won many titles and coached many superstars, but if the NFL were a Batman movie, he'd be Alfred the butler — instructive and wry and comfortable behind the scenes whatever his true ambitions may be.
Souhan notes that demeanor is in spite of accomplishments that include two Super Bowl titles with Dallas and coaching multiple Hall of Fame players.
Turner is entering his 10th season as an offensive coordinator and has 15 prior years of experience in the head spot, which made him a great candidate to answer which job "attracts more heat?"
"When you're going good and you're winning, both of them are easy, and when you're struggling and things aren't going the way you'd like, there is some stuff that goes with the job," he said.
"I always tell people this. For me, and I know for Coach Zimmer, it was a dream of mine to be part of this league in any manner."
Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press also took a look at the potential the offense can have under Turner, who will be returning to the Bay Area of California (he grew up in Martinez) for the season opener on Monday Night Football.
Background on a backup
Veteran Joe Berger has been filling in with the first team at center in John Sullivan's absence, but who is next in line behind Berger? Andrew Krammer writes that Zac Kerin "fits right into a locker room and offensive line built with similar, unheralded backgrounds."
Aside from Matt Kalil, the fourth overall pick of 2012, (and Phil Loadholt who is on injured reserve), the next highest pick among offensive linemen is rookie T.J. Clemmings (fourth round, 110th overall).
Kerin played collegiately at Toledo. Krammer noted that Kerin, after spending all of 2014 on the practice squad, is one of several undrafted players that make up 26 percent of the 53 players on the Vikings roster:
Kerin, 24, went from practice squad last season to the 2015 active roster as Sullivan continues to be held out because of a back injury. Should Sullivan not play in Monday's regular season opener in San Francisco, Berger would likely start and Kerin could be active for his first-ever NFL game as the backup center.
*There's no celebrating. A "stressful" Saturday spent hoping his phone wouldn't ring was just one hurdle to pass as Kerin knows how fleeting a roster spot can be from fellow undrafted teammates, current and former. *
"It's a little bit of a relief, but not really," Kerin said. "Because in this business, if you made it one day, doesn't mean you made it the next. I'm not going to take a break now."
Sherels Returning as Returner
Another year of roster reductions meant it is time for another feature on Marcus Sherels by Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune:
*Marcus Sherels laughed when I asked him if he knows how many times he's been cut in the court of public opinion in his career. *
"I have no idea," he said. "You'd probably know better than me."
*Let's see, he's been in the NFL six seasons so … six times. *
*It's become an annual part of Vikings training camp. Same thing every summer: 'This is the year Marcus Sherels gets cut by the Vikings.' *
*And every training camp ends with Sherels' name listed on the final 53-man roster. *
The former Golden Gopher received endorsements from Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer prior to the cuts for his ability as a dynamic punt returner and the effectiveness he showed as a gunner on the punt coverage team this season, and Zimmer said this week that Sherels "keeps making plays" when given opportunities.