Norv Turner knows the limits of the offseason program and that's one reason he felt such a sense of urgency last week as the Vikings wrapped up organized team activities and likely will ramp it up higher for minicamp this week.
The Vikings practice Tuesday through Thursday before sending the players off for more than a month before the start of training camp on July 25.
"This time of year you have to be high energy. You have to have a sense of urgency," Turner said. "You have to create an atmosphere for everybody that they know one play can make a difference. Right now, a sense of urgency, I think Coach (Mike) Zimmer is doing a great job with it. We have to cover a lot of ground."
Offensive players have talked repeatedly about the volume in Turner's scheme, but Zimmer said the coaching staff is trying to learn the strengths and weaknesses of players and could scale back the number of plays once training camp and the preseason begin. Turner said the quarterback situation also will have to be defined more clearly once training camp begins.
Matt Cassel appears to be the favorite to enter training camp as the top quarterback with Teddy Bridgewater likely being given a chance to push him with a strong preseason. Cassel, who is a learning a system that was foreign to him two months ago despite having seven coordinators in the last six years, senses Turner's passion for getting things done.
"He creates this intensity and this sense of urgency that I haven't seen throughout my 10 years, which is great," Cassel said. "What it does is it creates a sense of urgency so on game day, when things are going a hundred more miles a minute, you're prepared for that. He's meticulous in his details and he wants to push you in practice because that's the only way you prepare for game day."
The question is how far along Cassel, or whoever is starting at quarterback, will be in the offense once the regular season starts.
"There's a lot of work to do. There's no doubt about that, but I think I've got a great handle on the offense so far," Cassel said. "Every day there will be certain things that you learn, just being out there on the field – how Norv sees it, how he wants to run a certain play versus what you've done in the past. There's carryover, but then there's certain reads with certain ways you've done it in the past versus what you've done now. It's just a process, but at the same time I do feel like I've got a good grasp of what we're trying to get accomplished."
To a degree, Turner agrees. In essence, much has been accomplished and much more remains left to do before the regular season starts in September.
But so far, so good, despite Zimmer saying he never has a feeling of satisfaction at this time in the installation process.
"The participation and the energy level, there's been great enthusiasm about what we're doing," Turner said. "… We've gotten a lot done and we've got a lot of work to do. I think they're getting an understanding what we're doing and understanding how much better we have to get."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Turner has ‘urgency' with offseason practices
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