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Zimmer: Shurmur, Sparano Lend Creative Ideas on Offense

A quick glance at the Vikings coaching staff reveals some prominent names.

A trio of coaches – Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner, offensive line coach Tony Sparano and tight ends coach Pat Shurmur – are all former NFL head coaches.

The Vikings are tied with Baltimore for having the most former head coaches on a staff. The Ravens have three former NFC North coaches in Leslie Frazier, Marc Trestman and Marty Mornhinweg.

Minnesota hired Sparano and Shurmur shortly after the 2015 season ended.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday from the Annual League Meeting in Florida that he wasn't worried about too many egos being in one room. 

"I just felt like they were two knowledgeable guys that can help us," Zimmer said. "I'm going to continue to bring in guys that I think can help us in however it is.

"I've been impressed with both Tony and Pat," Zimmer added. "They've come in and grinded. I've asked them to do some things, research, and actually it's been a good flow with all those guys."

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

Since the three former head coaches work on the offense side of the ball, Zimmer said his offensive coaches have been thinking of ways to blend the skills of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Adrian Peterson. 

Bridgewater, preparing for his third pro season, had plenty of experience operating out of shotgun formations in college and his rookie season. Peterson, however, seems to do most of his damage after lining up several yards behind the quarterback.

"He had some really good runs out of the 'gun," Zimmer said of Peterson. "But he feels a lot more comfortable when he's not in the 'gun.

"So we have to come up with a plan, which we've been working on," Zimmer added. "Adrian likes to take the ball and go, he doesn't like (to be) slow so that's kind of a little bit of the issue. We've talked about some other ways to be a little innovative in how we can help marry that together."

Zimmer said while his coaches aren't necessarily drawing up schemes on a regular basis, they do toss out ideas on what has been successful in the past.

View images of Vikings new tight ends coach Pat Shurmur.

Shurmur was previously a head coach in Cleveland while Sparano was a head coach in Miami.

Turner, meanwhile, has been a head coach in Washington, Oakland and San Diego.

"They'll have a lot of input, and Norv has been really good about listening and talking," Zimmer said of his two new hires. "Now is a good time of year to sit down and talk about different things.

"Not necessarily philosophy but the way you did it or the way we did it and how can the good things that you do help what we did."

Zimmer said he hired Shurmur and Sparano for their expertise and not just because they used to be head coaches.

"If people have good ideas, which Tony and Pat both do, then we want to try and merge that into the offense a little bit," Zimmer said. "If they weren't going to have input, then I could have got a tight ends or offensive line coach anywhere."

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