Norv Turner is one of the best offensive coordinators in football.
Or better yet, was.
Turner resigned as Vikings offensive coordinator Wednesday, as Minnesota ranks 31st in the league in yards (293.3) and 23rd in points (19.9). Of course, that’s what happens when you lose Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson to season-ending injuries.
“Norv Turner’s offense is extremely successful when you have the guys to do it,” former three-time All-Pro Shawne Merriman said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “That’s the only way it works. But I want to make this clear, too: The coaches, they don’t play. So if the offensive line don’t go out and make the blocks and do things they’re supposed to do, and Sam Bradford – who’s already not an upper-tier quarterback, especially right now in his career – (you’re going to struggle). If they don’t have anyone to block and you have someone who’s very average at quarterback, how do you expect the team to be successful?”
That’s a good question.
“Someone has to take the L,” said Merriman, who played for Turner from 2007-10. “Somebody has to point the finger. (They pointed the finger at) Norv Turner. He had to get out of there. They had to point it at someone. No one said anything when they had the 5-0 start. That wasn’t the issue. Even when AP was gone, they didn’t have the power-rush game and they found a way to win. When the offensive line stopped blocking and they didn’t have the power-running attack and they couldn’t find the targets, Sam Bradford didn’t have the time to throw the ball, now someone has to take the L – and it had to be Norv Turner.”
Tight end coach Pat Shumur will assume offensive-coordinator duties in the interim, as Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he was “very, very surprised” about Turner’s resignation.
“Zimmer is the head coach,” Merriman said. “It’s not like Norv Turner in San Diego where he called all the shots. Even the practices were geared toward the offense when he was in San Diego. If the defense had a great day, it was a bad practice. If the offense has a great day, it was a great practice. If he’s not the head coach and he doesn’t make the rules, you would expect Coach Zimmer to go to him and say, ‘Hey, you need to adjust your style.’ And if (Turner didn’t adjust his style), then I can see them making those adjustments and him maybe stepping down.”
Of course, given Turner’s success, it’s possible that that’s what happened.
“Sometimes Norv Turner gets in that mode,” Merriman said. “When you’ve been doing it for so long and you’ve had success, why change? What happens is you had guys going down left and right, you don’t have the players and (if) you don’t make those audibles in midseason, that’s when you’re in trouble.”
Minnesota (5-2) hosts the Lions (4-4) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.