Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner
Good morning and good to see you all again as a group. I've seen you all walking around the past couple of days. I couldn't ask for a better setting during training camp. This facility is outstanding. Obviously the first couple of days of great weather, so it's really conducive for us to get our work done as we all know it's a short stay here. So we have to make the most out of every session, every walkthrough and every practice we get.
Q: What has been your impressions of WR Laquon Treadwell in the first couple days of training camp?
A: Well the first day was a walkthrough, so there was the conditioning test and all that. But yesterday I thought he had good day. A good day, a good first start. He's obviously a big bodied receiver with long arms. I could tell he worked hard on the things that we gave him this summer. The things we told him when we left from OTA's that he needed to work on and it showed up that he put a lot of time in during the summer because he was running very fluid and had a much better feel for the routes.
Q: Once he finally puts the pads on, what are you looking for him on the field?
A: You know everyone's different. I don't see a big difference with receivers with pads on or off. That's the beauty of this offseason. You can work on those type of things. The one thing we expect him to give us is a physical presence in the run and as a receiver. You can't demonstrate that without the pads on and even then practices with pads, we're always going to protect each other. It's a process where he gets comfortable running our system, running our routes, gets familiar with Teddy, Teddy gets familiar with him and then you want to see those things show up in preseason games. [He's] breaking tackles, getting big blocks and out jumping receivers. Those type of things.
Q: With the offseason moves you guys made it seems like you guys are trying to set up Teddy to breakthrough. Is that the way you see it?
A: Well I mean it's funny when I think of an offensive football team, I don't think of a guy. There's been so much conversation about all these things are for Teddy. Teddy is going to benefit from them, but they're for our team and they're for our offensive unit. The things we looked at and said, 'what do we need to do to take a step as an offensive football team?' Everybody wants to put Teddy's name in front of it and I'm not the guy who's going to do that. It's about our team getting better. If we get better everywhere and everybody steps up and play better, Teddy will be the beneficiary of that.
Q: What is the balancing act for you to get Adrian Peterson the carries you want but also get Jerick McKinnon involved as well?
A: To me, that's a game-to-game deal. I know there's a lot of talk about where we were ranked in pass offense and a lot of different things and how we were one-dimensional, there's a lot of games we had great balance. I look at our best games and we played good against some good defenses and good teams. We want to be able to do that for 16 games. We had some games where we weren't balanced and some games where we didn't play very well at all. We want to be more consistent and we want to do whatever it takes to win to win a game. Some games maybe that means Jerick gets more carries. Some games that means Jerick gets the ball thrown to him. Maybe some games we have Jerick and Adrian in the backfield together. It's about putting a plan together that helps you win and certainly enough has been talked about in the passing game. We want to be more balanced like we were in a number of our games where we did have good offensive production. We want to be more consistently balanced and get everyone involved.
Q: What would you like to see out of Jarius Wright? Is there more pressure on him being the oldest wide receiver on the team?
A: The one thing I'll tell you about Jarius Wright the last two years, any time he's been called on he's been productive and he's made plays. There's only one ball and there's only so many different balls you're going to throw. You're going to run the ball and all that and we're working a lot of guys in the slot, Jarius is one of them. I have a lot of confidence that when he gets an opportunity, he'll perform.
Q: Charles Johnson had a disappointing season last year, but he's running with the first team right now. What have you seen from him this offseason that has impressed you?
A: He's healthy number one. He had a rib issue that was a real issue, and unfortunately, in this league, when you miss some time and a guy steps in like Diggs (Stefon Diggs) did then your opportunities are limited. Charles has a good sense of doing what he needs to do to get ready and knowing that when you are called upon that you need to make the most of those opportunities. But he's had a really good offseason, and he looks ready to go. He is really running his routes well right now and catching the ball. It's a long process as we go through, and we are going to need all those guys.
Q: What can Charles Johnson do at his best that other wide receivers on this roster cannot do?
A: Charles has got a very good catch radius. Obviously two years ago, when he played in the second half of the season, he made big plays. He made a big play I think in Carolina or one of those games for a touchdown. It might have been the Jets. He's a competitive receiver. He's fast. He does a lot of things well.
Q: Are you guys planning on giving Joe Berger a real shot at center or does it go to John Sullivan if he's healthy?
A: I think Tony (Tony Sparano) is rolling those guys around and we are going to work everybody. What we are working hard to do in this next month is come up with the best combination of five. On game day you have seven or eight dress, so obviously you start thinking about games, the next best three guys then you usually keep nine lineman. We are going through that process right now. We are going to move some guys around. Sully (John Sullivan) is off to a good start and Berger (Joe Berger) has had really good year. That's a bonus for us.
Q: What has Tony Sparano brought to this coaching staff?
A: Change can be good and Tony (Tony Sparano) has brought a little bit different of a style of running game. He is very detailed and very specific in how he wants to do things, which I think is good for our guys. We are keeping the things that Adrian (Adrian Peterson) does best, but we're certainly expanding the running game. Same thing in the passing game. I think Pat (Pat Shurmur) has been exposed to some different things. We try to sit down and talk about the things we've done, a lot of the things we've done that haven't shown up in games and then incorporate some of the things he's done well in his past.
Q: What does Adam Thielen need to do to get more reps on offense?
A: Adam (Adam Thielen) is a contributor to our offensive football team. He had a good year last year. You just follow the flow of the questions you've asked. Obviously, everyone is not going to be able to be as involved as they'd like. That is why the competition out here is so great. I try not to, but I listen to what you guys say sometimes or read what you guys write or listen to the so called experts and through the last two months I've seen that we need to get the ball to – and now just plug a name in. There is about a list of 10 that we have to get the ball to and you get about 60 plays. Adrian (Adrian Peterson) is going to get his. We are going to be more diversified and more balanced but I have a feeling Adrian is going to get his. Now, where does the rest of it go? That is what we are working on here. But I'm a big Adam Thielen guy and I think our entire staff is. He's a good football player who keeps getting better.
Q: Alex Boone was one of your big offseason acquisitions, and he seems to be a pretty big personality. What does he bring to the offensive line unit?
A: I think he brings an attitude and mentality, but the No. 1 thing, I think anyone you add, that you wanted to bring, he's a good player. And he's got a physical presence in the way he plays. What he brings is a guy that we expect and hope and plan that is going to play at a high level at left guard on a consistent basis. Like I said, we don't have the ups and downs we had last year, where we were rolling pretty good, and then we play a team that's good upfront and we can't do much. He's another real good player that we've added, and it will be really important for him to play at a high level.
Q: Coach Zimmer mentioned some things he listed that the team needs to do better. Is there one thing that stands out to you as an offense?
A: Offensively, all of the things that he talked about. What it comes down to is becoming a complete offense and then being able to do it against the best teams, because that's what we're trying to get done. We had games where Adrian rushes for 200 yards,190 yards, and those types of things, and then we had games where we struggled to run. Well, we want to be good enough to be able to do it against the best teams, and if they're overloading the run, that's what Coach (Mike Zimmer) is talking about, we want to be better in the passing game; we want to be more balanced.
Q: Will Joel Stave get most of the reps that Taylor Heinicke would have gotten at quarterback?
A: Yeah. We pretty much limit the reps the third guy gets, but he's going to get those reps. Obviously, Shaun Hill has played a lot of football, and in the preseason and to me, the third guy, as you've seen with Taylor (Heinicke) the last couple of years, gets opportunities to play in games. And to me, that's where you get a chance to make a big positive impression, is how you play in preseason games. Certainly, he's going to get some opportunities.
Q: Are you hopeful that Mike Harris will be able to return soon, or is that somehow open-ended?
A: Yeah, that's (a question for) Coach Zimmer. That's right up his alley. I don't have to worry about those things anymore.