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Thursday, February 6, 2014
Turner: Vikings want to add young QB

By Ben Goessling

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- When he was asked if the Minnesota Vikings had to use the eighth overall pick in this year's draft on a quarterback on Thursday, new offensive coordinator Norv Turner happily scurried behind the limitations of his title.

"I don't have to answer questions like that any more," he joked, referring back to his days as the San Diego Chargers' head coach. "[General manager] Rick [Spielman] and [head coach] Mike [Zimmer], I'm sure, have been talking about it a lot."

But Turner did make clear the one thing that most have expected would be true of the Vikings this offseason: They'll try to find a young quarterback.

"I think everyone is in agreement that we are trying to add a young quarterback to the organization. We just have to make sure it's a good one wherever we get him," he said.

Turner used Seattle's Russell Wilson as proof that quarterbacks can come from many different backgrounds; Wilson is just 5-foot-11, and was drafted in the third round by the Seahawks in 2012. He also took a subtle jab at Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who pushed out former Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson when Turner was the head coach there.

"I was with Brad Johnson in Washington when we went to the playoffs and won the division and the owner was convinced he couldn't win a Super Bowl, so we let him go and he went to Tampa and the next year he won a Super Bowl," Turner said. "I think you get a really good player and you get him with a really good team and you find out how far you can go."

The offensive coordinator had some good things to say about 2011 first-rounder Christian Ponder, who is the only Vikings quarterback on the roster at the moment. But the fact that Turner said everyone in the organization agrees the Vikings need a young quarterback should make it obvious Ponder isn't at the center of the team's plans. He also said his son, new Vikings quarterbacks coach Scott Turner, had talked briefly with Matt Cassel, who will opt out of the second year of his contract with the Vikings.

Cassel could come back to the Vikings on a new deal, and Turner said he'd be happy to work with him.

"There's a business side and there's a reason things get done. I think Matt is interested and he liked his experience here," Turner said. "I think he's excited about the things we're doing, the things we've done. I've known him for quite a while. We've talked football. So, I don't think I'm surprised by him opting out, if that's what he did. I'm not sure that's final or done yet. But I'm excited to work with Matt."