Now, with Peterson, Turner and Bridgewater all working together in the 2015 season there likely will be a heavy mixture of shotgun formations and a power running game. Not because they want to disrupt the defense, but because it will be what suits their personnel type best.
“It’s not so much worrying about how it affects the defense,” Turner said. “A lot of people try to do that stuff and they’re not good at anything; that’s not what we want to be. We’re going to do the things we’re best at and if we’re good with the spread stuff, we’ll do more of it and if we’re not, we have plenty of offensive options in our system.”
Turner is hoping that not much changes for the running backs when the quarterback is in the shotgun versus when he is under center. He hopes that the running backs are excited to see big holes opening up in front of them, regardless of how they are getting the ball.
But the truth is, there is a difference for these running backs, especially for one such as Peterson who has spent a majority of his career with the quarterback working from under the center in front of him. Having the quarterback next to him is different, but that isn’t the part that is most difficult him. Instead it is being even more patient than he had been before.
“Obviously in the gun you’ve got to be more patient,” Peterson said. “You don’t have six or seven yards, or whatever your depth is, to align your footwork, be patient up top and then attack. And being patient for me is always difficult for me anyways. So in the gun when you’re right there next to the quarterback, you’ve got a power play, you’ve just got to be more patient. Let the offensive line develop since you’re right up there on them. So that’s the biggest thing, patience.”
He isn’t too worried about it, though. He feels confident in his abilities to work out of any formation his team runs. He even said that the offense could be working out of a wishbone formation and he would still be able to run the ball.
His offensive coordinator also thinks that Peterson will be fine working out of the shotgun. Of course, they are going to continue to pound the middle with him because that’s what Peterson has done his entire career, but they also want to throw in some new wrinkles to get him out in space more often.
“I think the things we’re doing out of shotgun, he’s very comfortable with and getting more comfortable with,” Turner said of Peterson. “We’re going to give him a good dose of the things that he does best, that he’s done best his entire career, and then we’re going to try to spread the field a little bit and give him some things that give him a little more space.”
Head coach Mike Zimmer said offenses are always changing and adapting to something new – and sometimes dusting off the old.
“A while back it was all the unbalanced and then it was the Wildcat and now it’s the zone read, more spread stuff. Everything is kind of cyclical as it gets going,” Zimmer said.
“… The run and shoot when Buffalo was doing it, that was big. So it’s just kind of whatever the fad is at the time. It’s the same things defensively, the Tampa-2, the double-A gap stuff. The 3-4 for a while.”
The Vikings have a lot of offensive weapons that can hurt opponents in different ways. The trick then becomes having Turner find a way that meshes all the playmakers together in a way that everyone is comfortable in what they are doing.
Since every player has different strengths, it is not always the easiest thing to do. But with the amount of experience Turner has working in the NFL, he should have no problem creating the best game plan for his team week in and week out.