EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) — The Vikings kick off the season in three days. Will it be Shaun Hill at quarterback when the offense first takes the field, or the newly-acquired Sam Bradford?
Coaches say the answer to that question has as much to do with the mental side of the game as physical.
Remember what it was like trying to learn a foreign language in high school? That’s what it’s like for Sam Bradford learning a new offense with the Vikings. It might be a lot of the same plays he’s run before, but they’re called something completely different.
“A lot of people run a lot of the same plays, so it’s the verbiage and knowing which words go with which play,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. “It’s pretty different. It ends up being words, and words have different meanings.”
So yeah, it’s a lot like learning a new language – and it’s the biggest thing that will determine how soon Bradford is ready to play. Lucky for the Vikings, they’ve got their own Rosetta Stone already on staff.
“Pat helped in terms of the plays that we have that were similar to Philadelphia,” Turner said. “OK, Philly calls it this, we call it this.”
Bradford’s previous experience with tight ends coach Pat Shurmur has been a big help this week. Shurmur was Bradford’s offensive coordinator both in St. Louis and Philadelphia, and this week, is serving as an interpreter of sorts, translating that verbiage as Bradford learns the offense.
“You may call it an apple, and a year ago we called it a pear,” Shurmur said. “And so it’s just a matter of saying, OK, now it’s apple.”
“So it’s the verbiage and knowing which words go with which play,” Turner said. “But then getting on the field, our guys might do things – might be the same play – but our guys might do it differently than where he’s been before.”
And that’s the even bigger challenge. Timing and chemistry. But…
“He’s picking it up extremely quickly,” Shurmur said. “We’ve been all very, very impressed at how far he’s come in just a couple days.”