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Players buying message from Turner, Vikings

MANKATO, Minn. - If you are former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, now might be a good time to look away.

Earlier this week, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was asked a harmless opening question about the offense under new coordinator Norv Turner. Without prompting from reporters, Peterson turned it into a critical, honest and accurate assessment of the predictability of past offenses, including those of Turner's predecessor, Musgrave.

"This is what I've been looking for the past seven years," Peterson said. "And now I feel like we have an offense that fits our talent and what we have as far as the players at their positions and what they're able to do. I'm pretty excited for what Norv Turner is putting in for us. It's putting guys in opportunities to make plays and be more versatile as an offense. So I'm stoked about that."

Turner is Peterson's third offensive coordinator. He went to the NFC Championship game with his first coordinator, Darrell Bevel, who had Brett Favre as the quarterback. Musgrave, the second offensive coordinator, contributed to a playoff season in 2012, but was mostly ridiculed for a simplistic offense that was highly predictable.

That was the media's take. And now it's also Peterson's public stance.

"I just call it what it is," Peterson said to a group of reporters. "I feel in the past, we were predictable. You guys wrote stories about being predictable in the past seven years. You won't be able to write that story this year. That's pretty much all that I'm saying. You won't be able to do that because this offense is so versatile."

As for Turner's offense being successful, a lot depends on the quarterback position, obviously.

The Vikings have said there's a three-man competition. But Christian Ponder is a distant third and sees little action -- all with the third unit -- during 11-on-11 drills.

That leaves veteran Matt Cassel, who has a tentative grip on the No. 1 job, and rookie first-round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater, who is gaining ground quickly because of his learning capacity, work ethic, poise and smooth, quick release.

If Turner can stabilize the quarterback position, the Vikings could have a lot going for them offensively. Peterson is the best back in the league and is healthy and in great shape, as usual. The starting offensive line and line coach Jeff Davidson are entering their third season intact.

Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is a superstar in waiting and will be used correctly now that Turner's creativity is in play. And tight end Kyle Rudolph is a big target with soft hands and a strong work ethic. He also showed Turner enough potential this offseason that General Manager Rick Spielman felt comfortable giving Rudolph a five-year, $36.5 million extension that includes an $18.5 million guarantee.

"I think Adrian is excited about Norv, the offense and the direction of that this team is taking," coach Mike Zimmer said.

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