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Presser Points: Shurmur on Vikings Offense, Edwards on D-Line, Priefer on Forbath

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –Interim Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur isn't building the "Pat Shurmur Offense," and that's not his goal.

"We're trying to develop a Minnesota Vikings offense based on the players that we have and the things that we think are good and work well against our opponent," Shurmur told Twin Cities media members during a podium session Thursday. "So, that's really the approach moving forward."

Sunday's game against the Cardinals will be Shurmur's third matchup – and second full week – since assuming the offensive coordinator role when Norv Turner announced his resignation on Nov. 2.

Shurmur, who held the same role in St. Louis and Philadelphia before joining the Vikings as the tight ends coach in 2016, said that while he's taking some influence from past playbooks that he's run, the focus is on Minnesota's current situation and what works best for the team.

"There are things that we've all done in the past that we feel like work, but there are also so many really good things about what has gone on around here the last three years," Shurmur said. "We just try look at our opponent, see how they're defending us and try to put our players in the best position possible."

One player Shurmur is paying attention to is Arizona's Tyrann Mathieu, who has the ability to swing between safety and cornerback. Mathieu was listed on the Cardinals injury report as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice due to a shoulder injury, but if he takes the field Sunday, he presents a challenge.

"He's a tremendous football player, and he has proven it at all levels," Shurmur said. "When he's in there, he can cover, certainly, but he's a good blitzer. He's an excellent tackler. So, he has got all the skills to play the position."

Defensive Coordinator George Edwards and Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer also took to the podium Thursday.

Here are two topics covered by Edwards:

Wrapping it up

The Vikings defense has collectively missed more tackles than is typical for the unit over the past couple of games. Edwards pinpointed the problem as finishing tackles properly.

"I think it's more of wrapping up, finishing a tackle and wrapping up," Edwards said. "That's the biggest thing we've come back and tried to emphasize is that with these powerful running backs, bigger backs, you've got to get them wrapped up to get them on the ground. They're going to break arm tackles, and we've got to take good angles. That's the other thing, emphasizing, making sure we take good angles to tackle."

The technique could especially be a focus this week when the Vikings take on a versatile running back in David Johnson.

Combatting quick throws

In a number of their games this season, the Vikings have faced quarterbacks who have the ability to make quick passes, which allows the offense to make plays and doesn't give Minnesota's defense much time to get to the quarterback.

Edwards said there are specific things to work on with the cornerbacks when preparing for quarterbacks who get the ball out quickly.

"The biggest thing is the techniques and the fundamentals that we work on, whether we're [in] press, whether we're off, whether they have wide splits, whether the splits are in there tight, whether they run stacks, whether they run clusters," Edwards said. "So, situationally, they have to be on top of their game for, number one, what we're doing and then, number two, what they come out in, because they'll have to adjust off the alignment of the receivers."

Here are two topics covered by Priefer:

A change of scenery

Priefer opened his media session by saying that Tuesday was a tough day in waiving kicker Blair Walsh, but he was proud of the way Walsh dealt with the situation.

"Blair handled himself with professionalism and class," Priefer said. "Blair's done a lot for us the last five years, both on the field and in the community, and he's a fine young man.

"I thanked him for all his contributions to our football team – he's a pro," Priefer added.

Priefer said that a new opportunity could help Walsh in the long run.

"I told him I hope he goes to the AFC, because I wouldn't want to play him," Priefer said. "Because at some point, he's going to turn it back on, I think, and I think going to another place will help him. I truly believe that."

A look at Kai Forbath

Priefer said he's watched Kai Forbath, whom the Vikings signed Wednesday, for a number of years and is looking forward to the skills Forbath brings to the table.

"He's always had a smooth approach; he's under control," Priefer said. "He may not have the strongest leg on kickoffs, but he's an effective kickoff guy, as well. I thought because of his workout, because of his experience level, in my opinion he was the best option for us."

When a new player comes in, Priefer said he wants to do whatever he can as a coach to help that player. He said addressing someone's mechanics will never be something he does right out of the gate.

"All the specialists I coach, whether I get them as a rookie or partway through their career, I'm not going to change anything they do right off the bat," Priefer said. "I'm probably going to need to see Kai Forbath kick, I don't know, a thousand field goals before I can start messing with his technique.

"What I do ask him is, 'How can I help you?' " Priefer added. " 'Are there any reminders that a coach can help you with before you go out for a field goal or a PAT or even a kickoff?' So we've already had that discussion."

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