Musgrave Says Team Will Tailor Offense To Fit Players

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 3, 2011 – 1:29 pm

So often in the NFL we hear about teams acquiring players because they fit the defensive scheme or the offensive system. While that strategy certainly works in many places, it sounds like the Vikings will take the opposite approach when it comes to collecting offensive talent.

“We like to tailor make or customize our system to fit our players,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said, “so it’s not a system where we’re going to sit here and say Donovan didn’t fit or another player didn’t fit into our system. We’re going to customize it to really play to their strengths and I think you do that not only with the veteran guys, but also with the young guys, whether it be Christian (Ponder) or Donovan. We want to identify their traits that can help us win and then play to their strengths.”

There are two players who come to my mind when reading that quote from Musgrave – WR Percy Harvin and QB Joe Webb. Harvin is one of the best play-makers in the NFL and is coming off of two consecutive impressive seasons to open his career. He’ll be a focal point in Musgrave’s offense.

“I think we do,” Musgrave responded when asked if the team sees a go-to guy in the WR corps. “But again, that would mean we would need to tailor our offense around his (Harvin’s) strengths. He is not a big 6-1, 6-2 or 6-4 Randy Moss-type that’s going to win outside versus a corner all day long. We’re going to do a good job with Percy by moving him around, making defenses have a tough time identifying what his role is on that specific concept and then simply get the ball in his hands.

“The key is getting him his touches to let him do his thing.”

As for Webb, we’ve already explained that a new roster rule could allow the Vikings to utilize Webb’s talents on the field more often going forward. Judging by what Musgrave said on Wednesday, that’s precisely the plan.

“He is doing a nice job at quarterback now,” Musgrave explained. “We want him to focus on quarterback and not dilute his pot too much, but we know he can run, we know he can throw it eighty yards and we know he can make people miss. The new rules will enable us to kind of have a Joe Webb package that I can see in the future, too.

“If he proves to be one of our eleven best (offensive players) at times then we’ll get him on the field.”

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23 Responses to “Musgrave Says Team Will Tailor Offense To Fit Players”

  1. By Shawn on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    “But again, that would mean we would need to tailor our offense around his (Harvin’s) strengths. He is not a big 6-1, 6-2 or 6-4 Randy Moss-type that’s going to win outside versus a corner all day long.

    ” Randy Moss tpye ”

    Does our front office know that there is a ” Randy Moss tpye ” player out there and his name is Randy Moss ….

    Despite what Moss said if he was approached by a contender he would play …

  2. By Parody on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    LOL @ Shawn. It’s fun to think that Moss is still in the running for us, but after the moves of the past week or so, it’s looking very unlikely.

    Personally, I love the plan to tailor plays to the players’ strengths. You can’t get the best players in the NFL who fit “your system” all on your team. But a dynamic coach CAN create plenty of great plays that utilize his players’ best assets.

    Last year we had no deep threats on the active roster in many games, so the coaches just told Percy that he’s going to have to act like one of the deep guys and expected him to perform in a role that wasn’t right for his talents. They made similar mistakes all across the board, and by no small coincidence we lost a lot of games last year.

  3. By James on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    And this is why Musgrave is a smart coach. Instead forcing players to adjust to roles outside of their talents, he’s adjusting the system to them. Which is good because we will be seeing a lot of Joe Webb and Harvin schemes this season. Which gives our deep WRs, whoever they are to get open space.

  4. By DuaneN on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    A lot of good stuff from Musgrave. I really hope we see Harvin and AP together in the backfield some. So many possibilities there. Direct snap to Harvin is better than the WR screen imo.

  5. By peever on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    “dilute his pot”……..dont they do drug testing anymore around here..

  6. By Shawn on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    @Parody … yea I agree Ilike the way our team is setting up , would still like to see one more either utility OLmen or starting OLmen like Ryan Cook not sure if hes been signed somewhere

    and a safety of course

    and even though I would love Moss back , Im not as mental over it as I was b4 Jenkins signed

  7. By Frederick Jones on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply


    We might have a lot of wide receivers that can get open rather than just one or two. That’s what the Packers did w/Favre at QB.

    I like what Musgrave said about making the offense fit the personnel. I hope that will work often for the Vikings this year.

    Joe Webb is an unusual talent, it’s hard to keep him on the bench. That is the only reason he wound up playing some WR at UAB.

  8. By Carl K on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Just watched the Musgrave presser…wow, that was refreshing. Musgrave and Frazier are humble guys who not only respect the players, but also show the media respect as well. Mustgrave didn’t dance around questions or try to get cute or smug. Real football answers that make sense… wow, I love it.

    Mike, I could hear the questions.

    I can’t wait to see his offense. Can’t wait to see the Joe Webb package!
    I am ready for some football. I think the players are going to buy into what these coaches will say.

  9. By Frederick Jones on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    The Vikings have to be a little bit torn about Joe Webb. Do we save him for the future, or should we utilize his kick return/receiver talents while we wait for him to develop?

    Joe Theisman returned some kicks for the Redskins in his early days.

    Marlin Briscoe played WR at a Pro Bowl level after playing QB for several years. (Briscoe should have remained a QB, all you have to do is read a little about him and you know that is true) Nolan Cromwell, and Tony Dungy are among those who switched to defensive back in the NFL. Willie Wood, HOF defensive back for the Packers was a QB. Bobby Bell HOF OLB was a QB his freshman year at Minnesota.

    Not many people have played QB and done other things AT THE SAME TIME.

    So I worry about Joe Webb playing other positions besides QB. In the long run it could hurt his development.

    I wonder if he could play cornerback?

  10. By Frederick Jones on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    I’m hoping that if Joe thinks and wants to be a QB, he resists efforts to change him.

  11. By Shawn on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    I remember a team that went to a super bowl and had what might possibly be considered similar personel … 2003 Carolina Panthers … Stephen Davis THAT YEAR similar to Peterson …. Steve Smith similar to percy … Mushin Muhammed similar to Jenkins ….

    No ” Randy Moss type ” WR but they got the job done , like I said since teh Jenkins signing Im not as mental about it and I think our WRs will be solid

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY BETTER than what Chilly brought to week 1

  12. By Frederick Jones on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply


    Yes, we will have several good targets now. We won’t necessarily have the Randy Moss type, but we have what we need.

    You need lots of good players with all the injuries. Onatola, OLB is already down with a stress fracture!

    We need quality players at least 2 deep at every position.

  13. By Carl K on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Frederick- Because of the rule change allowing the #3 QB to play. I think he is a lock to be label as our #3 QB. I like Joe because he is coachable and he is willing to do what ever the coaches needs.

    Musgrave said Joe can throw the ball 80 yards. If Joe is one of the eleven best guys he is going to play. That means he is going to take snaps… run..throw the ball… return kicks… what ever it takes.

    Why save him? He is a football player, let him play! Let him line up all over if needed. Even if he is a wildcat/wr player he will get more snaps at QB than most #3 QB. I am OK with our QB situation!

  14. By Arrow86 on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Shawn I believe Moss will play this season. I don’t see the Vikings getting him however. When the Vikes are selling his replica home jersey for $9.95 instead of $85, I doubt he’s on the radar. NFL network today said that he has an interest or has been contacted by Philly. I sometimes wonder if Jerry Jones won’t reign in Moss at some point. Moss has always burned the Cow-polks. But with Dez Bryant, maybe the Cowboys won’t want Moss either.

  15. By Arrow86 on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Carl K: Your positive vibe is contagious. After reading your comments I started to reflect on the Falcons in recent years under Musgrave’s offense. They lost a mobile Michael Vick and he adjusted to Matt Schaub. They drafted Matt Ryan, and he has been a special quarterback from snap one in the NFL. They really had a great season going until they hit the buzz saw that was the Packers playoff run. People respect up front honesty. When we see and hear it, we know it!

  16. By tru-speed on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks Mike!!!!! I love that I can hear the Question’s- and Not just the Answers! Musgrave is a real coach! THIS IS THE VIKINGS YEAR!!!!! AP WILL GET 2000 PLUS YARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! mark my words!

  17. By Arrow86 on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply

    Musgrave has thrown down the challenge to his coaching that Linahan couldn’t. When Moss was about all we had offensively, Linahan couldn’t find a way to get the ball to him. Granted he was heavily covered, but teams that succeed figure out a way to help their stars be stars, knowing the opponent is keying on their every move. We could even go back to Anthony Carter in the 80’s. It was like the old joke, “Who is the only guy who can hold Michael Jordan under 20 points? Dean Smilth.

  18. By Arrow86 on Aug 3, 2011 | Reply


    I know you’ve mentioned in the past that you’re a coach. In your post that Webb should resist the position change if he feels in his heart he’s a quarterback. If Webb isn’t going to get to play that position this season, or possibly in the coming years as a starter, with his athletic ability, wouldn’t you appeal to him as an athlete that he could reach Pro Bowl levels and help his team reach higher levels faster by the position change?

    Granted, I’m a guy who believes Joe Mauer will play 3 to 4 additional years, and 5 to 10 more games per season if moved to 1st base. (Go Twins!)

  19. By Ricefield on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    The impression I get from Musgrave is he’s a no-nonsense kind of guy with a little swagger that comes from confidence in his abilities. He’s honest and doesn’t sugar-coat things. Personally, he strikes me as the Singletary of offensive coordinating. No BS, just the facts about what we have and what we can do if the guys do there jobs.

    Way to go Frazier for bringing this guy in!

    Pfiefer (sp?) seems intense too. He also seems extremely confident in what he can do with the talent on this team.

    Like I said in another post, the coaches have plan for this abbreviated preseason and that’s a good thing. SKOL VIKINGS!!!

  20. By Parody on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Personally, I liked Priefer’s press conference the best. Not only did he throw some healthy humor into his responses, but he was sincere and honest throughout. That’s rare in the NFL. Usually coaches remind me WAY too much of politicians, playing it safe and never saying what’s actually on their minds, and that always bugs me. Not the case with Priefer though, so I hope we get to see more pressers from him because of it.

  21. By jneel777 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Does anyone know if we are still in the running for Malcom Floyd?

  22. By Charlie on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    To hear some people discussing the idea of Joe Webb at corner seems utterly ridiculous, this is the NFL not little league. Sure he is an exciting talent (OFFENSIVELY) and an outstanding athlete, you can’t expect him to play on the other side of the ball at one of the most demanding/strenuous and high pressure positions on the field. We drafted Ponder at 12, we should really consider him first. Joe seems to have a bright future, but lets face it, there is a reason our Front Office chose Ponder at such a high pick.

  23. By 4eversteve on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    Bill Musgrave must find out fast if this Charlie Johnson is going to be able to cut it as the left tackle on this team or whether the Vikings will have to explore other options. I understand that defense is always ahead of offense at the beginning of camp, reports that Charlie Johnson was dominated by Jared Allen in the first full practice scrimmage which make me very concern that he may not be the answer at that position , with that being said I still have reservation about our offensive line situation as a whole and how they will able to match up against the rest of the league this season.

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