One day after Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner walked away from his post in a move that his boss described as very surprising, it’s still unclear why Turner called it quits.
Speaking to Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Turner gave a vague and incomplete explanation of his reasons what he called the “hardest decision I’ve ever made.”
“It’s the hardest decision based on a number of circumstances that I’m not going to go into,” Turner told Craig. “A tough day. Tough day. But I got the utmost respect for Mike [Zimmer]. I think he’s as good a coach as I’ve been around. But it just got to the point where I didn’t think it was going to work with me. So I removed myself.”
As Turner said more, it became clear that something he deemed to be dysfunctional was going on within the organization.
“I truly think this move may end up being a positive thing for the Vikings,” Turner said. “I just think they got a chance to get on the same page now. I don’t know how to describe that, but I think it could be the case.”
This clearly implies, from Turner’s perspective, they weren’t on the same page. And they (presumably the coaching staff) may not have been on the same page because Zimmer, not Turner, hired former Browns head coach, Rams offensive coordinator, and Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to coach the tight ends and because, after quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went down, the Vikings made a bold move for Sam Bradford, a Shurmur pupil, instead of sticking with Shaun Hill, a Turner protege.
There’s another important factor to consider when trying to discern the reasons for Norv Turner’s abrupt departure: His son, Scott, is the team’s quarterbacks coach.
So if Norv sensed that the offense was on a track that was going to result in everyone getting fired after the season, Norv’s decision to step aside now may be, in his mind, the spark that helps everyone save their jobs. Regardless of whether Norv’s assessment of the situation was accurate (and he’s been around long enough to know which way the wind is blowing), Norv seems to genuinely believe the offense may be better without him, and the presence of his son on the offensive coaching staff gave Norv extra incentive to be selfless.
If there’s any merit to this theory/hypothesis/whatever, it’s another example of the pitfalls of nepotism among coaches. Owners apparently allow it because they routinely involve their own offspring in the business. But there’s a fundamental difference between the people who run the business grooming the people who will eventually inherit it and the employees of ownership hiring family members.
Given the presence of Norv’s son in such a key role on the offensive coaching staff, it would be foolish to assume that this dynamic had no role in the deliberations that resulted in Norv walking away. In the end, there’s a chance it was the deciding factor.