Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner, Defensive Coordinator George Edwards and Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer held their first press conferences with the media of 2015 on Thursday. The full transcripts of each are available here, but some main points are below:
Not surprisingly, the first two questions Turner received were about Adrian Peterson's return to the practice field this week for the first time since September. Turner said it's been a seamless transition for the 2012 NFL MVP, even though the Vikings have added new things into the offense that they didn't have a year ago.
"He's very comfortable with what we're doing," Turner said. "He retained a lot. We have new stuff in, and he was eager to get involved in that and he's had three good days."
Earlier this week, Jerick McKinnon told Vikings.com he feels faster than he did during his 2014 rookie campaign. Turns out, Turner concurs and offered a couple of reasons for that.
"Jerick, really looks faster than a year ago, because he's real confident in what he's doing," Turner said. "He's 100 percent healthy and he's flying around. He really gives you a nice dimension, a changeup."
McKinnon provided the dash opposite the smash that Matt Asiata provided for the Vikings last season during Peterson's absence, and his speed could be more impactful for the Vikings if defenses are tired from tackling Peterson.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater mentioned the offseason workout program that tight end Kyle Rudolph is having. The two have connected multiple times at Winter Park and also met up before the team's voluntary offseason workout program began in April. After enduring multiple injuries, including a sports hernia that required in-season surgery last year, Rudolph is recovered and stands to benefit from Peterson's return, as well as the speed the Vikings have at the receiver position because defenses will have to respect those elements.
"When he's healthy and running like he's been the last three weeks, it's exciting to have him," Turner said. "We'll get some coverage on the outside with the speed that we have, he can open it up a lot. He'll get match-ups, if they're going to play eight-man fronts, the tight end gets great match-ups through the passing game. It's nice having him."
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Edwards was asked how first-round pick Trae Waynes is looking in his first pro offseason program.
"He's doing good," Edwards said. "We're putting a lot on his plate by playing him inside at the nickel and playing him outside at corner, so from that aspect of it, it's a lot of different concepts that he's learning, asking him to do some things that he probably hasn't done, especially playing him inside on the slot. For everything right now, I think it's kind of running together a little bit for him, but he's been working and doing a good job of picking up what it is we're trying to teach him."
Waynes has primarily been working with the second-team defense.
Priefer was asked about how the additions of draft pick Stefon Diggs and DuJuan Harris may impact what the Vikings do at kick returner and punt returner in jobs that were held by Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels, respectively, for the past two and four seasons.
Diggs had 22 of his 25 punt returns as a freshman but returned kickoffs all three seasons at Maryland. Harris, meanwhile, has returned 36 kickoffs during his four previous pro seasons.
Priefer said he is still a strong believer in Patterson and Sherels, but the Vikings will evaluate other players.
"In my mind, Cordarrelle Patterson is the best kickoff returner in the league," Priefer said. It would be crazy for me to try and put someone else in that spot, but we're still bringing competition, we still want him to get better. There's things that he can't do this year that he did last year, put the ball on the ground and those things, but he's still very talented and every time that he's back there, you guys see what teams do, they get nervous and they don't like kicking to him, we get great field position because of that."
Priefer said he thinks everyone who has heard him talk about Sherels "understands or knows how I feel about him."
"I think he's a very reliable returner, also is rated one of the better returners in this league in making people miss and getting the big yards when they're there," Priefer said. "His average was outstanding last year, and we had two or three really big returns called back, or his average could have been upwards of 13 or 14 yards per return. He's a very reliable and talented returner that somebody is going to have to come in and beat him out. We're going to have competition like we do every year, he knows that, but I'm excited about that because that's only going to make him better and make our football team better."