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Zimmer 'very surprised' by Norv Turner's resignation

Count Vikings coach Mike Zimmer among those stunned by the sudden resignation of offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

"I was very, very surprised," Zimmer told reporters Wednesday, mere hours after word leaked that Turner planned to walk just seven games into the season.

Zimmer said he gave "no thought" to making a change prior to Turner's decision, denying whispers that the coaching staff was wrestling with a difference of opinion on how to fix the team's moribund attack.

"No, I would not describe (it like) that," Zimmer said. "I would say that since Norv has been here, I've given him almost 100 percent total free will in everything that they've done offensively. Obviously, I'll come in and make suggestions, but there really has never been a time that I've demanded anything from there."

Zimmer called Turner a "very, very good friend of mine," saying: "He's helped me tremendously in the three years that I've been here. He's had an unbelievable career. He's been really my right-hand man really since I've been here. He decided it was in the best interests of him to do this and I accept the reasons. They are personal and I probably won't get into the reasons why he did."

Zimmer clarified that Turner "never said retirement to me, he said resign," meaning that the 64-year-old play-caller could wind up elsewhere before wrapping his lengthy coaching career. That only adds more questions, though, as to why Turner felt the need to bolt.

"We talked for a long time about a lot of things and I told him my feelings for him and how much that I respect him and the things that he's done and things that he's continued to do and hard that he's tried to get it going," Zimmer said. "He was pretty set in his ideas and his reasons and I hope that we'll always continue to be friends."

The Vikings have been through plenty this season, losing their starting quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater and star runner in Adrian Peterson to season-ending injuries. Those setbacks are part of the game -- as are coaching changes -- but Turner's resignation came with zero warning.

How Zimmer and his players handle this latest setback will define whether this suddenly troubled Vikings team gets back on track or sinks deep into unforgiving waters.

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