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Relationships brought Shaun Hill back to Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS -- Shaun Hill left Minnesota after the 2005 season, having logged just two kneel-downs in a NFL game. "I thought for sure I was going to have the world's shortest highlight film whenever I left here," he joked on Wednesday.

But for as little time has he spent on the field, Hill was at the Minnesota Vikings' practice facility all season, long enough to form relationships with some of the people that work for the club 10 years later. And while he didn't get a wealth of playing time the next year in San Francisco, he did work the entire season with then-49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who is now in Minnesota in the same role.

Those two factors ultimately helped put a return to Minnesota at the top of Hill's list.

"We had pluses and minuses for every place," Hill said. "I will say that I was very thrilled that Minnesota reached out, like I said before. Norv is a guy I always respected and I guy I always wanted to play for again. That certainly was in the plus column for us. I can't say, right away, that's where I was going to be. You have to let the process play out. A lot of things happened in the three-day [negotiating] window."

Hill's relationship with Turner dates back to the 2000 season, when Turner was the coach of the Washington Redskins and Hill was playing quarterback at the University of Maryland.

"He was able to watch me there," Hill said. "He went to Miami (as the Dolphins' offensive coordinator) -- wanted to bring me down to Miami. I remember talking to him at that point; it didn't work out. And then when my time here was done, I was basically out of ball. He's the one that brought me to San Francisco. He was able to get me there and really played a big part in continuing my career. Obviously I learned a lot from him in that one year. We were playing with a young Alex Smith and had Trent Dilfer kind of helping us out as well. It was a great year; just learned a lot from Norv. Had a lot of respect for him going into that and gained even more for him that year. Followed him and any chance I've had to talk to him, I've taken since then."

Now that the 35-year-old Hill will be the oldest quarterback in the Vikings' room, he'll be expected to help Teddy Bridgewater develop. Hill said Bridgewater had already reached out to welcome him to Minnesota -- "Not just people in this building, but people around the league; everybody has nothing but great things to say about him," Hill said.

There was no confusion, though, about what the quarterbacks' roles will be once they start working together.

"You want to be able to establish, sort of, a competitive spirit amongst the guys in the room, but you also must understand your role," Hill said. "Teddy is the starter, but at the same time I'm going to be pushing him and trying, maybe it's one day we'll have a competition for most explosive plays or maybe one week it'll be a completion percentage competition, things like that. You develop competitions among yourselves, but all the while our goal, or my goal, is to improve every day but my goal is also to help him to be ready for that opponent that week."