Turner ties, respect run deep for Hill

Shaun Hill’s ties to Norv Turner go beyond San Francisco, and it’s clear the 13-year veteran quarterback has a lot of respect for the 30-year veteran of NFL coaching.

The Vikings wanted Shaun Hill to come in and be a backup quarterback to Teddy Bridgewater because he has a history with offensive coordinator Norv Turner – a history that goes back even further than some people realize.

At this point, most of Minnesota’s media platforms have pointed out that Hill played under Turner in 2006 with the San Francisco 49ers. But that wasn’t the start of the interactions with each another.

“Norv out of college – I didn’t have a whole lot of exposure – but he was there at the Redskins when I was going to school in Maryland, so he was able to watch me there,” Hill said in a conference call on Wednesday. “He went to Miami; he wanted to bring me down to Miami, and I can remember talking to him at that point.”

Of course, instead of going to Miami with Turner, Hill joined the Vikings as an undrafted free agent out of college. Then when his time in Minnesota came to an end, Hill actually thought that his days playing football might be over, but Turner had other plans for him.

Even though they were only together for one year in San Francisco, Hill says it was a great year and he was able to learn a lot.

“He was the one that basically brought me to San Francisco,” Hill said. “He stood on a table to get me there and really played a big part in continuing my career. Obviously learned a lot from him in that one year. We were playing with a young Alex Smith and had Trent Dilfer kind of helping us out as well. But it was a great year, like I said, just learned a lot from Norv and had a lot of respect for him going into that, but gained even more after that year.”

Turner is probably one of the better and more experienced offensive minds coaching in the NFL, and it’s the reason why he has been able to coach for 30 years in the NFL. But that also means that his offense can be a little complicated, which is why it is important the Vikings brought in someone who has already played in his offense.

Some things have changed in Turner’s offense since Hill was a part of it in 2006, but he still should be able to pick it back up easily.

“Well (Turner) likes to spread the field,” Hill said. “He’ll hit you vertically and horizontally, wants to push the ball downfield. And it’s an exciting brand of offense. I know some things have changed a little bit, gone a little more to some no-huddle type of things, and some things that Teddy does well. But he’s been a great offensive coordinator in this league for a long time and probably one of the great offensive minds, maybe in the history of the game.”

Hill’s familiarity with Turner’s system is likely the primary reason the Vikings wanted to bring him in, but it wasn’t the only one. They also want him to be a mentor for Bridgewater, and someone who will help him further develop as a quarterback.

It can be hard for quarterbacks to accept their role as a backup, but Hill accepts what his role on the team is.

“Teddy’s the starter, but at the same time I’m going to be pushing him,” said the veteran quarterback. “… But all the while our goal, my goal, is to improve everyday, but my goal is also to help him and be ready for that opponent that week. There are a lot of things in game-planning that I think I can help him with (when) we sit down and watch film and study our next opponent. I think that’ll be a huge asset for him because the coaches have a lot of things going on, so a lot of our film study has to be on our individual time. So I’ll be able to sit next to him and go through all that with him and try to share as much knowledge as I have.”

The Vikings reached out to Hill on the first day of the NFL’s three-day negotiating period. He was excited about the opportunity because he enjoyed his time here and has a lot of respect for Turner, but it was not a sure thing right away.

Both Hill and his family had to sit down and discuss the decision, but in the end it led to him returning to Minnesota.

“Norv is a guy that I have always respected and a guy that I have always wanted to play for again,” Hill said. “So that went into the plus column for us right away. But I can’t say right away I was like, ‘Well, that’s where I’m going to be.’ You have to let the process play out, you have to see what team’s interests are. There are a lot of things that happened in that three-day window, but I was certainly excited about it.”

Hill will not be the deciding factor on how well the Vikings perform in 2015, but he can be a key contributor, even if that happens behind the scenes. The work he puts in with Bridgewater will be important for the young quarterback’s development, and it could make a big difference down the road.

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