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Norv Turner faces former team in Chargers

Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner returns to San Diego this weekend. He was the Chargers' head coach from 2007-12. Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

SAN DIEGO -- Malcom Floyd fondly recalled the deep routes Norv Turner routinely dialed up for him during Turner's time as head coach of the San Diego Chargers.

“I appreciate all the double moves that he called for me,” Floyd said. “We had a great run while he was here.”

Turner served as San Diego’s coach from 2007-12, finishing with a 56-40 record in the regular season. The Chargers reached the AFC Championship Game in Turner’s first season, but he was fired after missing the postseason three straight years. Team chairman Dean Spanos hired Mike McCoy in January 2013 to replace him.

Now the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, Turner faces his former team for the first time Sunday. Turner’s son Scott serves as Minnesota’s quarterback coach.

“I know there were some disappointments -- probably the biggest one was the playoff game against the Jets,” Norv Turner told The Mighty 1090 AM Radio. “But we won 11 straight games that year and won 13 games. I don’t think bad coaches win 13 games in a season.”

Chargers safety Eric Weddle said the familiarity with Turner’s scheme and tendencies could come in handy on Sunday.

“I went against his offensive philosophy every day for six years,” Weddle said. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a great environment against a really good team, and obviously there are some things that I know since being around him for so long.

“Will it carry over? We’ll see. Hopefully we can do enough and play enough at a high level to get a win.”

Known for the vertical passing game, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers had some of his best seasons as a pro under Turner’s tutelage. Rivers earned three Pro Bowl invitations from 2009 to 2011, throwing for 24,355 passing yards and 161 touchdowns during Turner’s six-season tenure in San Diego.

“It certainly will be weird going against him somewhat,” Rivers said. “Obviously we both have got our own concerns on different sides of the ball. But it will be good to see him.”

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer knew of Turner’s lofty status with the Dallas Cowboys while serving as defensive coordinator there in 2001. Turner worked closely with Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman as the team’s offensive coordinator during the Cowboys' two Super Bowl titles in three seasons from 1991 to 1993.

“I've always had a deep respect for his offense, his play-calling ability and the way he got guys to play hard,” Zimmer said.

So Zimmer hired Turner with an eye toward developing Minnesota’s next franchise quarterback, second-year pro Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater is 7-7 as a starter for the Vikings. In his rookie season, he completed 65 percent of his passes and finished with an 85.2 passer rating -- highest among any rookie signal-caller who started a game from the 2014 quarterback draft class.

“He’s tough on quarterbacks, but he’s got a great way about him,” Zimmer said. “He can get after them. He can have a lot of fun with them. He’s demanding on the entire offensive football team. And I think he’s always done a fantastic job. We’re really, really lucky in order to get him here.”

With Adrian Peterson in the fold after sitting out all of last season due to off-the-field issues, Turner is now tasked with meshing one of the best runners to play the game in his Bridgewater-led offense.

“I’ve learned a lot from him,” Peterson said. “Just being around him and knowing his legacy, it makes you want to go out and give 110 percent. It’s been fun so far, and I’m just looking forward to getting a full season under my belt.”