Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner
Q: How do you think the offense performed against the Cardinals?
A: I always think you have a chance to make great improvements from Week 1 to Week 2, whether it be the preseason game 1 to game 2 or regular season game 1 to game 2. You just get an opportunity to play together. Obviously, there is some nervousness and some things that happen in that first week. I think we made the progress we'd like to make. We got a lot of people involved, that's important to me. I think that will help us as we go through. There are just a lot of things we have to work on to get ready for the opener. We have a long ways to go.
Q: On the final drive of the game, were you happy to see Teddy Bridgewater in a two-minute situation?
A: I really was hoping they would call it a downed play and we would take a knee, you want to win the game. The opportunity presented itself. When you go on a two-minute drive, Teddy (Bridgewater) was great and he played really well, but we had a lot of young guys in there and we got a wide variety of blitzes, we had a lot of different guys contribute in that drive. To me it's something about the 11 guys that were in there, everyone has to do their job. There's a 1:10, there's not a lot of margin of error. I was pleased with the way everyone executed that drive.
Q: What was the number one thing you wanted to fix from last year's offense to this year's?
A: I said it then and I'll say it now, the offense did a lot, a lot of good things last year. When I looked at tape I thought there was a lot of things we could build on. They were 14th in the league in total offense. That's playing a tough schedule. I thought we were productive in a lot of areas. I just thought there were things that we could do to help spread it out a little bit. Some things we could do to get more people involved. Again, when you want to get more people involved, like I just said, all 11 guys on the field have to do their job. The offensive line, I thought for the most part, last year played pretty well. There are some things we felt we could do to help them play better and that's what we have been working on.
Q: How has Matt Kalil looked to you so far?
A: He's gotten better. He missed most of the offseason. He's gotten better every step along the way and that's what you're looking for. He played well in the opener. I thought he played better in the second game. He's making the kind of progress we need him to make.
Q: What are the biggest things the offense needs to improve on?
A: The details of everything we're doing. Specifically, details in the running game. Obviously, when Adrian (Peterson) is in the game it makes a difference, but we've got to make sure we are doing the little things to give him a chance to be successful. Obviously, there is always going to be something, third downs. We are limiting what we do (in the preseason). Our ability to be successful on third downs is going to have a lot to do with how we perform. Continue to work in the red zone, when we get down there we need to get points, we need to get touchdowns.
Q: How do you approach Cordarrelle Patterson's ability to run the ball and not overuse him so he's effective in the passing game as well?
A: We need to get Cordarrelle (Patterson) the ball and we need to find different ways of doing it. Whether it's with handing it to him or throwing it to him, moving him around a little bit, we are limiting what we do in the preseason. He needs to be a big part of what we do when we get going.
Q: Is there a certain point that you will have to start game planning to not have Jerome Simpson for the first few games?
A: It's funny because I just have a different take on those things. You have to have a varied plan. Unfortunately, in this game, guys miss. If it's a case where someone misses because of an off the field thing, that's one thing. We could be in the opening game and someone we are counting on to play a big role sprained his ankle on the third play. We have to have a plan to go play and do the things we want to do. So, yeah, we have plans and there are certain plays that (Jerome) Simpson is really good on. There are other guys that have to fill in if he's not in for that play.
Q: Who is your next best deep threat? Is it Cordarrelle Patterson?
A: I think we have a lot of guys that can stretch the field and get deep. Some of them do it in different ways. Greg Jennings has caught three or four deep balls against our top corners. A lot of it depends on coverage, a lot of it depends on the play we have designed but I think we have a number of guys that can make big plays up the field.
Q: How do you assess the battle between Adam Thielen and Rodney Smith?
A: Yeah both of those guys have stepped up. They've both stepped up and early I think Adam was having a more consistent camp but as we've gone through these last couple of weeks Rodney is really making a move. The thing I always say is, if we have a bunch of guys playing good, if you make enough plays, there's enough room for you on a team. Those are decisions that obviously Coach Zimmer and Rick Spielman are ultimately going to have to make but if guy goes out and makes a bunch of plays they usually find a way to be on the team.
Q: How many wide receivers would you like to take on the team?
A: That's the hardest question because from an offensive standpoint, we want every guy we can get, from a team standpoint, and I've had to do that, and Zim and Rick are going to have to do that, you've got to make a decision. But we can make it work. We've got enough versatile players that we can be in a lot of different personnel groups so we can adjust to whichever way we go.
Q: Where have you seen growth from Cordarrelle Patterson since you guys came in here this spring?
A: I think he's getting more consistent. He needs to continue to grow in that area. For young receivers, they slowly figure out when the ball is coming their way and when it's not and just that consistency of understanding that most the times you don't get the ball this play but 1 out of 10, 1 out of 12 because of the coverage you're going to get it and just understanding you got to go every down.
Q: What have you seen from Jerome Felton?
A: Every guy has a role and he's kind of our hammer. He's a physical player and he's had a good camp.
Q: Does what happened with you in Cleveland with the quarterbacks last season give you a heightened sense of the importance of a third quarterback?
A: Absolutely. It never gets portrayed that way and I was obviously very disappointed in the opening game the way our fans reacted to Christian (Ponder) because I think he's done everything he can do and he's working his butt off and I think he's a guy that's going to be valuable to our team. The thing in Cleveland you're talking about, we had three different guys have their career-best games in three different situations and we didn't win the games because we gave up a touchdown at the end of the game or something kept us from winning the game that was out of the quarterback's hands, I thought that happened to Christian a number of times last year. Having three quarterbacks, if that's the way we end up going, it's extremely valuable to me.
Q: Is that something that you push for?
A: There's advantages to both ways, going both ways, and we'll adjust to whatever. I think that we have a pretty good quarterback situation right now.