Well before Norv Turner became the Minnesota Vikings' offensive coordinator, he knew all about his new team's offensive star, Adrian Peterson. One picture on the wall in Winter Park, the team's headquarters, reminds Turner of everything he needs to know about Peterson. Turner was in the photo. "It was one of the first pictures I saw of me standing on the sideline watching Adrian run down the sideline in the game that he broke the NFL rushing record, so I've seen it firsthand," Turner said last week. "I've seen him at his best firsthand." Turner was the San Diego Chargers' head coach in 2007 when Peterson, as a rookie, set the league's single-game rushing record with 296 rushing yards in just his eighth NFL game. Turner gets a chance to be on the same sideline as Peterson now. While Turner comes to Minnesota as an accomplished offensive mind known for his work with quarterbacks and his deep passing attack, he stressed his desire for balance with the Vikings and the importance of Peterson. "I think the best offenses I've been with, and I've been fortunate to be some with really good ones, and to me it's all about having balance," Turner said. "You have to be good in enough things so that when a team overplays the run, you can throw it. If you are going to back off and play more conservative, you can run it. You obviously have to be able to do what you want. Sometimes you have to say we are going to run it no matter what and we are going to throw it no matter what, but balance to me is the most critical thing." The speculation with Peterson and Turner started almost immediately as soon as the partnership was established. How does Peterson fit in Turner's pass-first offenses? Peterson is coming off surgery for a third straight offseason and will be 29 years old when next season begins, perilously close to the magical age of 30, when many top-flight running backs supposedly begin their downfall. Turner is, in many ways, a disciple of the "Air Coryell" offensive philosophy. Don Coryell was the San Diego Chargers' coach who revolutionized the passing game in the NFL. Ernie Zampese brought the system to the Los Angeles Rams, where Turner learned from Zampese as the Rams' wide receivers coach. A forgotten piece of Turner's offenses -- and the Coryell system, to an extent -- is the involvement of the running back, and taking advantage of defenses that drop to cover the deep passing game. But Turner certainly has had his share of success with running backs in his career, foreshadowing big involvement for Peterson. Turner first got his chance at coaching with John Robinson at the University of Southern California, where Robinson's offenses were run-first and led to Heisman campaigns from Charles White and Marcus Allen. Turner later joined Robinson in Los Angeles, where Eric Dickerson led the league in rushing in three of four seasons with Robinson.
Norv Turner sees balanced offense with plenty of Adrian Peterson
Fox Sports North | Feb 14