Sources: Norv Turner close to deal

Updated: January 16, 2014, 4:49 PM ET
By Adam Schefter and Ben Goessling | ESPN

The Minnesota Vikings are close to a deal to bring aboard Norv Turner as offensive coordinator, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

Turner told The Associated Press that he and new coach Mike Zimmer have been talking about the job. He said nothing was finalized but "hopefully it works out."

Turner, 57, would run the offense for Zimmer, who was hired Wednesday to replace Leslie Frazier after spending five seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator.

Other candidates include Kyle Shanahan and Mike Mularkey, according to sources.

Turner spent one season as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, after being fired as coach of the San Diego Chargers following the 2012 season. He has a coaching record of 114-122-1 with three teams.

If Turner has been known for anything during his 23 years as an offensive coordinator and head coach, it's his ability to engineer dynamic passing games. He's directed one of the league's top 10 passing attacks 11 times and had the 11th-best passing offense another four times.

This season, Turner directed a Browns offense that had to rely on three different quarterbacks -- as the Vikings did -- but still amassed 4,372 passing yards and also helped turn second-year player Josh Gordon into one of the league's premier receivers.

That particular part of his skill set would be particularly welcomed in Minnesota, where the Vikings have had a miserable time trying to take pressure off running back Adrian Peterson.

Minnesota ranked 23rd in the league in passing yards in 2013 and was 31st in 2012, when Christian Ponder started all 16 games and averaged just 6.5 yards per attempt. The Vikings upgraded their group of receivers before 2013, signing Greg Jennings to a five-year deal and drafting Cordarrelle Patterson in the first round, but were plagued by inconsistency at quarterback once again.

Norv Turner
David Richard/USA TODAY SportsNorv Turner is close to a deal to become the offensive coordinator for new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

With Turner on the staff, they'd be adding a well-respected offensive mind at a time they'd need to figure out their quarterback situation.

It seems likely the Vikings could pursue a quarterback in this spring's draft, possibly with the eighth overall pick, and Turner -- who's had quarterbacks from Troy Aikman and Philip Rivers to Brandon Weeden and Jay Fiedler -- would be expected to point the Vikings in the right direction.

Turner has also worked with Vikings general manager Rick Spielman during their time with the Miami Dolphins, when Turner was offensive coordinator in 2002 and 2003 and Spielman was the team's vice president of football operations and player personnel.

While it looks like Turner will be joining Zimmer's staff, linebackers coach Mike Singletary is leaving when his contract is up at the end of the month, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Hall of Famer decided last year to depart when his three-year contract expired even if Frazier were still coach, the newspaper reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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