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Vikings head coach ‘very surprised’ by offensive coordinator’s resignation

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Norv Turner resigned early Wednesday as coordinator of the Vikings' struggling offense and was replaced on an interim basis by tight ends coach Pat Shurmur.

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Sep 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Packers 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Norv Turner resigned early Wednesday as coordinator of the Vikings’ struggling offense and was replaced on an interim basis by tight ends coach Pat Shurmur.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said Turner arrived at the team’s Eden Prairie headquarters at 6:30 a.m. to inform him of his decision.
“I was very, very surprised,” Zimmer told reporters.
The Vikings (5-2) are ranked 31st out of 32 NFL teams in total yards (293.3) and rushing yards (70.3) per game and have lost two straight games, 21-10 at Philadelphia on Oct. 23 and 20-10 at Chicago on Monday night. The offensive line has had huge problems.
Turner was in his third season as offensive coordinator.
“He decided it was the best interests of him to (resign),” Zimmer said. “I accept the reasons and they are personal.”
Zimmer said the two had a long talk Wednesday morning, and that Turner had “100 percent free will.” The head coach added that he won’t fill the open spot for a tight ends coach, and that the rest of the coaching staff remains, including quarterbacks coach Scott Turner, Norv’s son.
“I have tremendous respect for Mike Zimmer, our coaching staff and our players and at this time I think it’s in the best interest of the team to step down,” Turner said in a statement. “I thank the Wilf family (owners) for my time here in Minnesota and want to see our players and coaches achieve success.”
Zimmer was emotional when talking about Turner’s decision.
“Norv is a very, very good friend of mine,” Zimmer said. “He’s helped me tremendously in the three years that I’ve been here. He’s had an unbelievable career. He’s been my right-hand man really since I’ve been here.”
Shurmur, in his first season with the Vikings, was Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator the previous three seasons. He also held that position with St. Louis from 2009-10.
“He’s going to call the plays,” Zimmer said. “We’re going to continue to move forward and try to get better.”
Shurmur now has been the offensive coordinator for Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford for three different seasons with three different teams. He coached Bradford with the Rams in 2010 and with the Eagles last season.
“Surprised,” Bradford said of Turner’s resignation. “I obviously didn’t see this coming. I was in here (Tuesday) talking to him. I didn’t really think anything was different.”
Turner, 64, was in his 32nd consecutive season as an NFL head coach or assistant. He joined Zimmer when he was hired as coach in January 2014. The Vikings were 27th in the NFL in total offense in 2014 and 29th in 2015.
Minnesota had numerous injuries on offense during Turner’s tenure, especially this year. Lost for the season have been quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee), left tackle Matt Kalil (hip) and right tackle Andre Smith (elbow). Running back Adrian Peterson is out at least until December with a knee injury suffered in Week 2.

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Robb Jeffries (he/him) is the Night Editor for InForum.com and The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Robb can be reached at rjeffries@forumcomm.com.
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