The Vikings are expected to announce this week that Pat Shurmur will remain as the team’s permanent offensive coordinator, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune first reported. In a move that won’t be publicized to the same extent (for now anyway), it will more than likely signal the end of Adrian Peterson’s Minnesota Vikings career.
When the Vikings announced less than a year ago that Shurmur was being hired as the team’s new tight ends coach – a position that seemed to almost be selected at random – it appeared a bit unusual.
After all, Shurmur had past head coaching experience and had two stints as an offensive coordinator on his resume. His hiring as a tight ends coach wasn’t a lateral move. Typically, a hire like that would include some title associated with it like “Assistant Head Coach.”
It seemed like his tenure as a tight ends coach would be a short one because there was surely an offensive coordinator job waiting for him in the NFL.
There was. As it turned out, that job was with the Vikings.
When Norv Turner abruptly resigned Nov. 1, there was a ton of vagueness to how the situation was handled.
Was Turner just quitting because of a Monday night humiliation at Chicago when it looked like he was managing a no-offense huddle instead of a no-huddle offense?
Were there health concerns involved?
Was there an internal coup that forced Turner out in a face-saving move?
None of those were adequately answered. While Turner’s exit was shocking, at least the timing of it, it was fortunately convenient to have the one guy who got the most out of Sam Bradford in his professional career. When Shurmur was coaching up Bradford in Philadelphia, Rams fans in St. Louis were merely peeved, not bereft like they are now.
In hindsight, the most obvious explanation for Turner stepping aside from a 5-2 season in which things were spiraling downward was that there was another philosophical point of view out there to save the season.
The focal point of that idea was to give Bradford time to save himself from the blindside beatings he had taken the previous two weeks and let him just take shotgun snaps much more often.
That’s not Turner’s history. He not only had he lined up his QB under center, he used fullbacks as much or more as any offensive coaching mind in the current game.
The Vikings strayed from the old-guard offense and the new offensive coordinator earned his stripes in the interim.
Bradford set the all-time record for completing the highest percentage of passes he threw as any quarterback in the history of the game, doing it under Shurmur’s scheme.
With the official ascent of Shurmur to the permanent spot as offensive coordinator in the Vikings offense – which Mike Zimmer tends to go “hands-off” with – the clear indication is that Shurmur is going to have a free hand in helping develop the new-look Vikings offense around what he feels it does best.
That doesn’t include lining up under center. It doesn’t include fullbacks. And, if the Indianapolis game is any indication, it doesn’t appear that it includes Peterson.