Vikings Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur
Good morning, it's good to see everybody. It's always fun to get back to work. We're obviously doing something a little bit new with the rookies, but we're all excited to be here and get going. It's been a productive summer and preseason, and certainty now we'll get after it.
Q: How beneficial is it to be able to get rookies into camp a couple of days early?
A: This is a very beneficial couple of days for the rookies and some of the selected veterans. When you're a young player reps are really, really important, so to be able to get a lot of reps in a short period of time really helps with your development. It's good for us as coaches. We get back coaching, talking, and teaching, and doing the things that we do. And you do it in a small group setting, so guys can ask questions. Because the numbers are small we can't add the tempo to it and go really fast, so we go really slow and get all their questions answered, so when the veterans come back they really have gotten a refresher course.
Q: In recent years some coaches have commented that with a shorter offseason schedule players don't receive as much developmental time. Can this approach help combat that?
A: I think so. In a former life, back when I was in Philadelphia, this is what we did. We would have three days with selected veterans, the rookies and the quarterbacks. It got everybody going, plus the rookies got a chance to develop three more days. It certainty is beneficial for the guys that are here.
Q: Where is Dalvin Cook's grasp of the offense here on day one of Training Camp?
A: He really has retained a great deal from the spring, and I think that's the most important piece. We were just talking about how there's no substitute for experience. These guys are a little bit experienced because they were here in the spring, and you can already see that the learning is coming back faster than when they heard it all the first time. Anything that you do over and over and over you get smoother with. He did a really nice job in the spring and we anticipate that he'll just continue to get better.
Q: Dalvin has talked about some of the similarities between the offense at Florida State and the offense here in Minnesota. How much can that help him in his rookie year?
A: He came from a pretty advanced offensive system at Florida State. You saw principles of zone running, gap running, and pass protection where he was involved. He was also involved in route running. He has a pretty good foundation of what we're going to ask him to do, and I think that helps him.
Q: What have you seen from Dalvin in terms of attitude and approach?
A: I think that shows up. I think he tries to make the most of every rep he gets. You see him do a lot of things really well, and if he does make a mistake he's able to correct it and move on. That's another sign of being a pro. If you do this long enough or if you run enough plays, you're going to make a few errors. The key is to correct the error, move on fast and don't make it again. We've seen all those elements to his game, and I think he's going to have a bright future.
Q: What are you looking for out of your three quarterbacks currently at camp?
A: The same thing. I think for them to be able to come out here and execute and operate, we really haven't backed off on anything from the cadence. Obviously we want them to be able to execute efficiently. For them also, it's going to help them, because they're going to get a chance to get their footwork down, get their sea legs back before the veterans come.
*Q: How has the battle set up for wide receiver roster spots? *
A: I think right now they just go out and play, and do the best with the reps that they get. We saw improvement in that group throughout the spring, and we're looking to see that steady climb. Then we'll sort it out as we go. It's really early now to start doing the math on that, there's a lot of football to be played and a lot of development that needs to happen. We'll see where they're at once we put the first final roster together.
Q: Do you have any indication of when you'll see Latavius Murray at practice?
A: I don't know much about that. I know he's making progress and he's out moving around. There's no boot and all of that, so better questions for (Mike Zimmer) Zim and (Eric Sugarman) Sugs.
Q: How do you feel about Murray saying he felt that he was behind due to missing the offseason program?
A: I think he's a pro. He's a veteran. He's had to deal with these types of things in the past. He is very in tune with what we are doing mentally. He asks great questions. He made some suggestions on things too and helped teach it. So, he's right there mentally. For him it's going to be a matter of getting his body back in and around the ankle and get out there playing. He's got to get used to his ankle and body again.
Q: What have you liked from Case Keenum since he arrived in the spring?
A: I think he's done a really good job for us in terms of he's a pro, he's a veteran. He's been through this more than once. You can see from the way he operates out there that he's got a veteran level to his game from cadence, to making sure guys are lined up right, to calling the play. It's pretty obvious he's played the game a long time.
Q: How is C.J. Ham transitioning into the role of fullback?
A: Well, he's a running back for us and we are going to try using him in that fullback role at times. He's a good enough runner where you can hand him the ball in a one back setting. Again, for a fullback, a lot like linemen and guys that play on the line of scrimmage the physical nature of training camp will help sort out where this goes. We are very pleased with what he has done to this point and we feel like he's set himself up to have a good camp.
Q: With Cook and Murray do you view it as a competition or way to use them both?
A: I think what's important is that we get them both ready to go for week one. We will use them that way, but there is probably a lot more to been seen from Dalvin as he works over each hurdle of training camp and the preseason, then maybe extended use and dealing with the pounding. At this point, it's pretty early in the game to start lining up but they are two really good players that deserve to touch the ball.
Q: How confident are you that you will be rostering a fullback?
A: We are just going to see how that plays out. You just mentioned C.J., he might be a candidate for that. We also can use extra tight ends if that be the case or line of scrimmage type players that can function in the backfield. We will just figure that out as we go. Ultimately what you try to do is put together the best offensive roster that you can put together and then use the players in a way where you maximize their strengths, skills, and abilities.
Q: Where is Bucky Hodges at right now?
A: He's getting better but it's hard to see. He really improved a lot through spring and we'll see how it sunk in his time away. We have only had one walk through so that might be a better question for the end of the week. We feel good about his foundation starting training camp.
Q: For you personally, how does it feel having the keys to the car during training camp verses taking over midseason? Do you feel more prepared?
A: I think we spent a lot of time in the spring deciding what we wanted the offense to look like from the foundation and the roots. We, the coaches, spent a lot of time together going over what we are going to call things and what are going to do. There is more of comfort there because we're all on same page with the same direction. But, it's a matter of going out doing it and trying to find out who exactly the final offensive players will be as you go through training camp.
Q: What do you like about Isaac Fruechte? What keeps him around?
A: Well, he's a good football player. He's fast and he can uncover. He's done a good job of making plays especially in the practice setting. We like him as a football player and that's what shows up. He will do more when the pads are on when you add the physical nature that you don't typically see in the spring. We were just telling the wide outs that you are going to get bump and run now that you can't face in the spring. Those are the areas of the game where Isaac will show up.
Q: How has Pat Elflein handled the transition into a pro-style offense?
A: He's done a good job and is learning every day. I'd like to say he makes less mistakes every day and does more things better. I think that is what you are looking for. Really good players who are rookies develop quickly and we have seen that from him.
Q: What do you think Stacy Coley brings to the table when he's healthy?
A: Well, as you mentioned he has to get healthy. He's a quick-twitch guy and very productive player in college. For the short time we saw him we really liked what we saw in the spring. For him, the challenge will be to get healthy and get himself in the right type of condition so he can compete when we call on him. He's like a lot of rookies he just has to keep getting better every day.
Q: Can some of the younger receivers who were picked later in the draft over the past couple of years emerge?
A: I think we brought these players here because we thought they were good football players, and you have seen guys have success throughout the draft, depending on where they have been picked, so yeah, we are looking for these guys. If they are on the roster, we are looking for them to compete. Their challenge is to make our team. That is their challenge, and unfortunately if they do not make our team, develop well enough to make someone else's team. That is when you ultimately do the math, so the young players have got to try to keep getting better every day. Make our team or be good enough to make someone else's.
Q: Being a rookie, and at the center position, how difficult is it for Pat Elfein to be involved is the offense?
A: It is doubly difficult, as compared to playing a position where someone directs you, but he has done a good job it. He is a smart player. He has done it in the past and all indications are that he is learning at the right pace to be a really good player.
Q: Looking at CJ Ham, what makes him a good candidate for a two-back system?
A: I think he is a physical guy. He can catch the ball well. He knows who to block in pass protection, so he has those traits, and then in the rare situation where you might hand him the ball, he has got some running skills, so those are the things he brings to the table.
Q: Did he play fullback at Augustana?
A: You'd have to ask him that.