Turner’s present, past col­lide

Vikes’ of­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor meets for­mer Bolts charges

SundayXtra - - FOOTBALL - By Dave Camp­bell

MIN­NEAPO­LIS — Norv Turner has coached in the NFL for 31 years with nine or­ga­ni­za­tions, so he’s as ac­cus­tomed to fac­ing a for­mer team as any­one who ever put on a head­set.

Well, here he is again, with present and past col­lid­ing. The of­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor for the Min­nesota Vik­ings has been schem­ing all week to beat the San Diego Charg­ers, the team he su­per­vised for six sea­sons.

“It’s just part of this league now,” said Turner, who went 56- 40 plus 3-3 in the play­offs with San Diego from 200712 be­fore he was fired fol­low­ing a 7-9 fin­ish, his only los­ing record there.

Af­ter one year as the of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor for Cleve­land, Turner was hired by Min­nesota coach Mike Zim­mer prior to last sea­son.

“I have ul­ti­mate con­fi­dence in ev­ery­thing that he does,” Zim­mer said.

Turner has had more suc­cess as an of­fen­sive co- or­di­na­tor than over three stints as a head coach. But his abil­ity to de­velop quar­ter­backs, call plays and mesh el­e­ments of a power run­ning at­tack with a deep pass­ing game has made him one of the most revered as­sis­tants in the league.

“Just can’t wait to see him. I’m go­ing to give him a big hug, that’s for sure, if he’s on the field,” said Charg­ers de­fen­sive end Corey Li­uget, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2011.

Turner’s first five teams with the Charg­ers each ranked in the top five in the NFL in scor­ing.

“We did a lot of good things in San Diego, and we’re try­ing to du­pli­cate some of those things here,” Turner said. “We’ve got a heck of an of­fen­sive staff, young guys. It’s fun.”

Here are some key an­gles to know about the Charg­ers-Vik­ings game: THE LAST TIME: San Diego’s pre­vi­ous visit to Min­nesota pro­duced an un­for­get­table game, when An­to­nio Cro­mar­tie re­turned a failed field goal 109 yards for a Charg­ers touch­down as the first half ex­pired, and Adrian Peter­son rushed for an NFL-record 296 yards for the Vik­ings in a 35-17 vic­tory. BEST FRIENDS: The Vik­ings will be plenty wary of Charg­ers rookie Melvin Gor­don, but there’s one player on the team who’d ap­pre­ci­ate tack­ling him more than any­one: rookie cor­ner­back Trae Waynes.

Gor­don and Waynes are life­long friends, for­mer team­mates at Kenosha Brad­ford High School in Wis­con­sin. The first-round draft picks com­mu­ni­cate daily, Gor­don said, usu­ally about non-football top­ics. So there wasn’t ex­actly a bunch of trash talk back and forth this week.

Gor­don (Wis­con­sin) and Waynes (Michigan State) faced each other in 2011 in col­lege, but they were fresh­men then in mi­nor roles. Gor­don is the lead run­ning back for the Charg­ers, but Waynes is again a bit player, so far only on spe­cial teams. That won’t de­tract from the ex­pe­ri­ence this week­end, though, with dozens of friends and fam­ily ex­pected to at­tend.

“Some­thing we al­ways dreamed about,” Waynes said. UP FRONT ABOUT IT: Both teams have depth trou­ble on the of­fen­sive line.

Charg­ers right guard D. J. Fluker (sprained left an­kle) could miss his sec­ond straight game. Chris Hairston had a so-so game as Fluker’s re­place­ment. John­nie Trout­man (bro­ken right fore­arm) could be another two weeks from re­turn­ing. Cen­tre Chris Watt (groin in­jury) missed Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice. If he can’t go, Trevor Robin­son would start.

For the Vik­ings, al­ready miss­ing cen­tre John Sul­li­van (back surgery) for at least the first half of the sea­son, and right tackle Phil Load­holt (torn left Achilles ten­don) for the whole sea­son, left guard Bran­don Fusco (con­cus­sion) added to the anx­i­ety by miss­ing prac­tice Wed­nes­day. Fusco re­turned to the field Thurs­day.

Jeremiah Sir­les, ac­quired in a trade three weeks ago with the Charg­ers, would start if Fusco can’t. Mike Harris, claimed off waivers be­fore last sea­son af­ter the Charg­ers let him go, is start­ing at right guard for the Vik­ings this year. TIGHT END HEAD TRAUMA: Ladar­ius Green suf­fered his sec­ond con­cus­sion in less than two weeks, and his third since De­cem­ber, dur­ing Sun­day’s loss at Cincinnati.

His sta­tus is un­known. Green, start­ing in place of the sus­pended An­to­nio Gates, was ex­am­ined for con­cus­sion­like symp­toms af­ter prac­tice Sept. 9. He played in the sea­son-open­ing win against Detroit four days later. As a pre­cau­tion Thurs­day, the Charg­ers re­signed Kyle Miller. KEEP­ING CLEAN: Vik­ings line­backer An­thony Barr shoved Detroit quar­ter­back Matthew Stafford out of bounds last week, draw­ing an un­nec­es­sary rough­ness penalty. Zim­mer said the league told him that shouldn’t have been flagged, be­cause Stafford slowed down be­fore cross­ing the line. But Detroit wide re­ceiver Golden Tate, with­out be­ing spe­cific, said he be­lieved “110 per cent” that the Vik­ings took some cheap shots dur­ing the vic­tory.

“That doesn’t bother me. I know what kind of team we are. We’re not dirty,” Zim­mer said.

DE­NIS POROY / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILES

Norv Turner, a for­mer San Diego Charg­ers head coach, will face his for­mer team to­day as a mem­ber of the Vik­ings.

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