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Unique Coaching Staff will Collaborate on Vikings Offense

The Vikings offensive side of the ball has a new-look coaching staff for 2016, with Tony Sparano and Pat Shurmur stepping in as the new offensive line and tight ends coaches, respectively. ESPN's Ben Goessling wrote about what the two former head coaches bring to the table for Minnesota.

While a significant departure from the offense of the past two years probably isn't coming, the Vikings will likely continue to evolve as they incorporate some ideas from Shurmur's West Coast background and Sparano's smash-mouth pedigree.

During the recent NFL Owners meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said both Sparano and Shurmur will have input with Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner.

"Now's a good time of year to sit down and talk about different things – the way you did it, or the way we did it, and how the good things that you do help with what we did," Zimmer told media in Boca Raton. "That's kind of what they're doing now. We don't want to change the offense, but it people have good ideas -- which Tony and Pat both do – we want to try to merge that into the offense a little bit."

View images of the Vikings new offensive line coach Tony Sparano.

The coming weeks will provide a better sense of how many of Shurmur and Sparano's ideas will wind up in the Vikings scheme this year. In a perfect world, they'll wind up with a flavorful variation of what they've usually done, as a concoction of new ideas blends with the base of their offense.

Norv and Scott Turner keynote speakers for Nebraska Coaches Clinic

Over the weekend, Turner and his son, Scott, were featured as the keynote speakers for the Nebraska Coaches Clinic in Lincoln. Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star wrote about the Turners' visit.

"This is awesome, coming in here. It's college football at its finest," Norv said. "Walk in the stadium and you get goose bumps."

Nebraska Head Coach Mike Riley is a good friend of the Turners. Norv served as Riley's offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers in 2001. Later, Riley hired Scott to his first coaching job as a graduate assistant at Oregon State. The father and son have followed the Huskers football program since Riley took the reins in December 2014.

When Norv worked with Riley in 2001, the Chargers suffered through a [5-11] season. But the pieces were also being put in place that would help change the franchise's fortunes later.

"We think a lot alike," Norv said. "During that period, that was the process where we drafted LaDanian Tomlinson, and actually drafted Drew Brees. We talk a lot about that because a lot of people questioned if Drew would be able to play in the NFL, and Mike and I were convinced he had all the things necessary to be an outstanding NFL quarterback. Every once in a while it's nice to be right, and Drew has had a great career, and he was fun to be with for a year."

NFC North picture: Detroit Lions

Mark Craig of the Star Tribune has been taking a look at the other NFC North teams and their offseason outlooks. On Friday, Craig caught up with Detroit Lions senior writer Tim Twentyman and gathered some insight on the Vikings rival.

When asked what the Lions have done to improve their roster during the 2016 offseason, Twentyman said roster depth has been a big focus.

"Lions new General Manager Bob Quinn said task No. 1 was improving the 'middle class' of this football team. In his initial analysis of the roster, he thought depth was a real issue for this club. So, he went out and signed players like offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, defensive tackle Stefan Charles, cornerback Johnson Bademosi, receiver Jeremy Kerley, cornerback Darrin Walls and safety Tavon Wilson. These are all veteran players with starting experience that improve the overall talent and depth of this football team."

Craig asked Twentyman what positions Detroit would most likely target with the 16th overall pick in the NFL Draft, and the Lions writer said the team's biggest needs are defensive end and right tackle.

"Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor are the only defensive ends on the roster right now, and Taylor is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The Lions need at least two more edge rushers via the second wave of free agency or the draft.

"Players like Clemson's Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd or Oklahoma State's Emmanuel Ogbah could step right in and contribute as part of that rotation."

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