Vikings cautionary tale: Coordinator rankings

The Vikings are looking at adding Norv Turner and George Edwards as their offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively. But how have they fared in key offensive and defensive statistics and rankings? Not that well, actually. We delved into the stats beyond just the basics.

The Vikings appear to be on their way to hiring one of the most recognizable names – Norv Turner – as their offensive coordinator, as well as implementing a new scheme with their defense as George Edwards is a favorite to be the new defensive coordinator.

But how do those two coordinators stack up in their most recent years as coordinators? We took a look at the stats and rankings and, to be blunt, let's just say their track record compared to the average isn't all that impressive, as surprising as that might be in Turner's case.

Turner earned a reputation for his time coordinating the Dallas Cowboys offense in 1991 and 1992. For those that don't remember those days, he had legendary names such as Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, along with Jay Novacek, Daryl Johnston and Alvin Harper as the skill-position players.

But looking at Turner's offenses in his last five stints as an offensive coordinator, they don't rank highly in some of the most important and/or common stats – points per game, yards per game, first downs per game, third-down efficiency and time of possession. In fact, in those five categories over his last five times as a coordinator, Turner's offenses ranked in the top 10 only once of a possible 25 times – his 2002 Dolphins offense finished ninth in time of possession.

Turner's last two offenses – the 2013 Browns and 2006 49ers – finished 27th and 24th, respectively, in points per game; 18th and 26th in yards per game; 22nd and 29th in first downs per game; 23rd and 26th in third-down efficiency; and 27th and 26th in time of possession.

If Edwards is named the defensive coordinator, he could bring a 3-4 defensive scheme into the Minnesota mix, but his three seasons as a defensive coordinator – 2010-11 with the Buffalo Bills and 2003 with the Washington Redskins – didn't produce very well in the rankings.

Edwards' Bills were 28th and 29th in points allowed in 2010 and 2011 respectively, and 24th and 26th in yards allowed per game. Edwards' defenses were solid, at least, in passing yards allowed per game, ranking 14th in 2003 with the Redskins and third and 19th with the Bills in 2010 and 2011.

However, compared to the Vikings defense in 2013, most of Edwards' marks are better. Minnesota finished last in points allowed and 31st in yards per game and passing yards per game.

For further context, there is the principle that Turner likes to stretch the field with a deep passing game, and head coach Mike Zimmer has built his reputation as a defensive mind that is likely to be very involved with the Vikings on that side of the ball. But the numbers for the leading coordinator candidates are there. With that, here is a look at the numbers for Turner and Edwards in their coordinator posts the last two decades:

Team/Year Pts/
Plays Yds/
1st Dn/
3rd Dn
4th Dn
Avg. Time
of Poss.
Browns 2013 19.3 1,078 338.9 5.0 18.8 35.0 45.2 28:41
49ers 2006 19.3 918 303.8 5.3 15.2 34.4 54.5 28:37
Dolphins 2003 19.4 968 288.1 4.8 16.6 32.7 50.0 29:49
Dolphins 2002 23.6 1,010 337.0 5.3 19.9 38.2 30.0 31:24
Chargers 2001 20.8 1,010 325.0 5.1 18.1 35.7 75.0 30:15
Vikings 2013 24.4 1,013 344.3 5.4 19.3 36.4 52.6 27:39
Notes: In an attempt to keep this a bit more modern-day, we didn't go back to the 1991 and 1992 Dallas Cowboys, when Turner had a stacked roster offensively with Troy Aikman at quarterback, Emmitt Smith at running back and Michael Irvin at receiver. Without that much talent, it's interesting to note that the Vikings offense last year averaged more points, more yards per game and more yards per play than Turner's offenses have in his most recent five years as an offensive coordinator.
Team/Year Pts/
Pass Yds/
Rush Yds/
Sacks Forced
Bills 2011 27.1 371.1 232.1 139.0 29 13 9 20
Bills 2010 26.6 361.6 192.0 169.6 27 12 9 11
Redskins 2003 23.3 338.3 199.7 138.6 27 15 10 17
Vikings 2013 30.0 397.6 287.2 110.4 41 11 6 12
Notes: It's notable that Edwards' passing yards allowed were solid despite not getting many sacks, but his run defense wasn't great.

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