By Dave Campbell
AP Pro Football Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Mike Zimmer has a lot to fix on Minnesota's defense. For the issues other side of the ball, the new coach of the Vikings has targeted Norv Turner.
Turner has emerged as the likely offensive coordinator to lead Zimmer's staff. Turner told The Associated Press in a brief phone interview Thursday that he and Zimmer have been talking about the job, though Turner said nothing was finalized yet.
"Hopefully it works out," Turner said.
Zimmer was hired Wednesday to replace coach Leslie Frazier, who was fired Dec. 30, and he's acted quickly to assemble his assistants. Though many on Frazier's staff have one year left on their contracts, new coaches almost always bring in their own.
General manager Rick Spielman's stated goal was to pick Frazier's replacement prior to the Senior Bowl, and practices for the annual college all-star game in Mobile, Ala., start early next week. For coaching staffs and personnel evaluators around the league, the event is a valuable part of the pre-draft evaluation process.
The 61-year-old Turner would be a logical place for Zimmer to start with his staff.
Zimmer will be a first-time head coach after spending the last 14 seasons as a defensive coordinator for three different NFL teams, the last six with Cincinnati, but Turner has 15 years as an NFL head coach on his resume. Six of those were spent in San Diego from 2007-12. Turner spent last season as the offensive coordinator for Cleveland, but coach Rob Chudzinski was fired there, leaving that staff in limbo.
Bill Musgrave has been Minnesota's offensive coordinator the last three years under Frazier, but whether Musgrave's fault or not, quarterback Christian Ponder failed to develop into a trustworthy starter. The Vikings are still searching for a long-term solution at this critical position, though with running back Adrian Peterson, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and others there's plenty of skill-position talent to be harnessed here.
The Vikings have the eighth pick in the draft this year, and quarterback will be high on their list.
Zimmer's expertise is defense, obviously, but he'll still need a defensive coordinator. Fox Sports reported Thursday that Miami linebackers coach George Edwards was in line to take the defensive coordinator job with the Vikings. Alan Williams has served that role for the last two seasons.
Edwards was defensive coordinator for Buffalo in 2010 and 2011 and for Washington in 2003. Both he and Zimmer have experience running both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses.