Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner
Good morning. How are you all doing? All recovered from our stormy Saturday night? That was a first for me, in 31 years I think that's the first time I've been in that long of a delay, but our guys handled it extremely well.
Q: What do you notice different from Matt Asiata's running style so far this preseason?
A: To me, Matt is Matt. I appreciate him more than most probably. I think our players and coaches appreciate him a lot more than people who don't understand. He does everything you ask him to do. He's an excellent pass protector, he's great with his assignments, he gets the most out of every run he has. The other night, he bounced a couple outside and that was nice to see.
Q: How do you tweak what you do to tailor to your players' skillset and what have you done to take advantage of what Teddy Bridgewater does well?
A: The whole key to me – and our guys know it – if you do something well, then you're going to give them an opportunity to do that in a game, so a lot of what we do in practice through camp is to find out what the quarterbacks do well, the receivers do well, what the tight ends do well, what our offensive line does well. We're coaching and practicing and teaching those things and then the things that make it to gameday are the things that we perform at the highest level. I don't know that we've tailored things to Teddy. We've kind of just kept working with him to get his skillset to improve and get him to do more and more things well and he does most things at a really high level, so we can be very diversified on offense and that's nice.
Q: How do you feel the tight ends have fared so far in run blocking?
A: To me it's a week to week thing and there are some matchups that are really good for tight ends – not only ours but all tight ends, and then there are some matchups that aren't so good. These teams with really big defensive ends like we saw against Oakland, those are tough matchups for tight ends. When we're playing in the regular season, there are some schemes we will do a little differently. I think they are working hard at it. Coach [Zimmer] has made an emphasis of tight ends in the run blocking and I think they'll be productive when we get going.
Q: Do you tailor plays to get them better matchups or is it on them?
A: It's both. They've got to do a better job when they have a defensive end on them and then there are matchups and plays we can run where they're not the focal point of the run.
Q: How is Babatunde Aiyegbusi doing on the offensive line?
A: He's got a long ways to go. I think he's doing well. He's doing everything that [Offensive Line Coach] Jeff [Davidson] has asked of him and he's working extremely hard. It's not so much knowing what to do, because I think he knows what to do, but when it starts getting heated and faster and faster and he's going against better players. It happens really fast and if you have a little bit of doubt, sometimes you can get yourself in a bad position. But when he is really sure of what to do and he uses the proper technique, he can be a very physical player.
Q: Can you describe Matt Kalil's progress so far this preseason?
A: Matt is playing good. Matt's had a good offseason, he's had a good training camp. He and Everson [Griffen] have had some great matchups all through training camp. I know that our offensive line coaches, they're very strict in terms of technique and that is going to help Matt get better. My evaluation always is, "did his guy effect the play in a negative way" and he's had very few plays where his guy has had a negative effect on the play. I think he's preparing himself to really have a very strong year.
Q: Is it a challenge to mesh the shotgun spread with the power running game?
A: We had a good mix last year of multiple formations and multiple personnel groups. We've worked hard through the offseason to continue that. To me, again, it's not so much worrying about how it affects the defense. A lot of people try to do that stuff and they're not good at anything; that's not what we want to be. We're going to do the things we're best at and if we're good with the spread stuff, we'll do more of it and if we're not, we have plenty of offensive options in our system. A lot of it ends up game-planned and if a team can't handle a certain personnel group or a personnel set, we'll use it more of it in that game.
Q: What happened on that Shaun Hill interception in the game Saturday night?
A: It was an audible at the line of scrimmage and we didn't communicate it as well as we need to. Communication is two parts: it's getting information out and receiving information. We got a route run wrong and Shaun probably should've never thrown the ball.
Q: For the running back, how do things change for him when he is getting a handoff from the shotgun formation as opposed to when the quarterback is under center?
A: We're trying to make it the same. I hope it's not a whole lot different. Some of that depends on the play, but I think since I've been using more shotgun, I go back all the way to the Redskins when I first got involved in the shotgun, Brian Mitchell was an outstanding runner from shotgun and I didn't see the plays as being any different. Some guys prefer getting the ball in a handoff under center, some guys prefer it in a gun, but most of them get excited when there is a big hole to run through. They don't care if they got a handoff or a toss.
Q: Does even the threat of Teddy Bridgewater keeping the ball help the running backs at all on any of these shotgun looks?
A: Yeah, I think that's the whole premise. If you're not blocking the defensive end in a lot of these read plays, if he plays the run really hard and closes down, you're going to end up keeping the ball, the quarterback will. We're going to be very careful with how we use it, when we use it, but it does help you block teams that play an extra man down in the front. Obviously that is something we're going to get a lot of with Adrian [Peterson].
Q: Any special memories when you go back to Dallas?
A: I always like going back there. Obviously we had great success when I was coaching there and we've gone in there and had some pretty big wins. When I was with San Diego, I know we went in there and had a really big win, so it's a good place to play.
Q: When you go back to the stadium and you see the trophies hoisted and pictures hanging does it get sentimental?
A: No, I think I moved beyond that. It was good timing playing in the Hall of Fame Game. I went to Charles Haley's party after the induction and got to see a lot of the players, those are the things. I think the significance of winning a Super Bowl is, obviously, it's the ultimate in this league, but it's that thing that you have 20-25 years later with those guys that were involved and that feeling that you have for each other in knowing what you accomplished and knowing what you went through to accomplish it, those things probably mean more to me than a picture on a wall.
Q: Do you want to see more out of the running game before the preseason ends even without Adrian Peterson out there?
A: I just want to keep getting better. Coach [Zimmer] has made a strong emphasis that we want to run the ball better. I expect us to be a very good running team, some of it's going to show up in the preseason, some of it isn't. People that know me know that we don't do a lot in the preseason, in terms of scheme and game planning and trying to trick them. We're trying to work on fundamentals and basics. Like I said, I just expect us to run the ball well. I think there were points last year where we got to where we were running pretty good, I think we will run it a lot better than we did last year.
Q: Does running the ball out of shotgun formation change anything for Adrian Peterson who hasn't run the ball much out of that formation in terms of reads?
A: I don't think so. I think the things we're doing out of shotgun, he's very comfortable with and getting more comfortable with. We're going to give him a good dose of the things that he does best, that he's done best his entire career and then we're going to try to spread the field a little bit and give him some things that give him a little more space.
Q: Outside of the miscommunication, how did you assess Cordarrelle Patterson's performance Saturday?
A: To me, the receiver thing, it's really hard to evaluate guys in a preseason game because of the limited number of plays that they get and to really get into a game and production you have to get all plays. I thought Cordarrelle [Patterson] was good in a lot of things, I think there's things we've got to get better at.
Q: Do you want to treat Saturday as a dress rehearsal, do you want to see the first offense out there for the first half?
A: You got the wrong guy there, it's Coach Zimmer you should ask. I know people use that term and I always wondered what it meant. We're going to do what we do in the preseason, the third game, our guys play a little bit more, maybe zero in on Dallas a little bit more, but it's nowhere near what you'd actually do on opening day or on the fifth game of the season or the second time you play a team in your division. We're working on ourselves. I like what Coach Zimmer is doing, we worked yesterday, we'll work today and tomorrow going against ourselves, working on things we need to do to get better for the regular season and then Thursday we work on Dallas on a limited amount and then get ready to go play the game.