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Tony Sparano reportedly joining Vikings as offensive line coach

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The Vikings didn’t renew the contract of offensive line coach Jeff Davidson earlier this week and they’re reportedly replacing him with Tony Sparano.

Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Sparano has landed the job on Mike Zimmer’s coaching staff. Zimmer and Sparano previously worked together on the Cowboys staff when Bill Parcells was the head coach in Dallas.

Sparano spent this season as the tight ends coach for the 49ers and has had two stints as a head coach in the NFL. He was the coach in Miami from 2008 until he was fired with three games left in the 2011 season and served as the interim coach of the Raiders for 12 games in 2014 after they relieved Dennis Allen of his duties. He also spent one season as the offensive coordinator for the Jets.

The Vikings offensive line was a weak point over the course of the season. Sparano will be charged with bringing about better production in 2016, an effort that could be helped by the healthy return of center John Sullivan and, assuming he isn’t a cap casualty, right tackle Phil Loadholt after both suffered season-ending injuries.

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50 Responses to “Tony Sparano reportedly joining Vikings as offensive line coach”
  1. tjacks7 says: Jan 13, 2016 5:25 PM

    Luckily, the bar was set pretty low. If 3 of 5 linemen can each block someone on any given play next year it would be a huge upgrade.

  2. upnorthvikesfan says: Jan 13, 2016 5:26 PM

    Good hire! Sparano is one of those guys who should stick to being an assistant coach and not a head coach.

  3. tdubdizzle says: Jan 13, 2016 5:27 PM

    Great hire. AP will be even better next year.

    But the O-line can’t make him hold onto the football.

  4. tdubdizzle says: Jan 13, 2016 5:28 PM

    Whos going to be the special teams coach?

  5. thegreatgabbert says: Jan 13, 2016 5:36 PM

    It’s been a few years since he coached the Dolphins, but Tony is still disguising his appearance.

  6. purplepride11 says: Jan 13, 2016 5:39 PM

    Preifert isn’t a bad special teams coach

  7. firerogergoodell says: Jan 13, 2016 5:40 PM

    Spielman is the assistant GM.

    Bill Parcells is the real GM of the Vikings.

  8. ReligionIsForIdiots says: Jan 13, 2016 5:42 PM

    Second rate coach for a second rate franchise. Played the game of their lives and still got embarrassed by a walk-through Seahawks squad.

  9. NRG Stadium's Wonky Grass says: Jan 13, 2016 5:43 PM

    Every time I see an article about this guy I do a double-take because I think it says Tony Soprano. Still.

  10. jazz11001 says: Jan 13, 2016 5:52 PM

    Reeks of Parcells wisdom. Tuna has said “Sporano” is my kinda coach. Heck of a smart move.

  11. abninf says: Jan 13, 2016 5:53 PM

    From head coach down to line coach. What a fall.

  12. bondlake says: Jan 13, 2016 6:04 PM

    If you don’t have the players, it won’t matter.

  13. In Teddy We Trust says: Jan 13, 2016 6:07 PM

    If you get to be a head coach, you must have been a pretty good assistant coach. I like this move.

  14. codythao35 says: Jan 13, 2016 6:11 PM

    You can say about not having players but remember it’s a coaches league. He instantly an upgrade no doubt.

  15. thejuddstir says: Jan 13, 2016 6:12 PM

    tdubdizzle says:
    Jan 13, 2016 5:27 PM
    Great hire. AP will be even better next year.

    But the O-line can’t make him hold onto the football.
    =============================
    And an All-Pro O-line can’t help Bustwater’s accuracy either.

  16. vick54jr says: Jan 13, 2016 6:20 PM

    Any move that Zim makes has to be a good one. He wants to make a hard nose football team in his image. From 7-9 last year to 11-5 this year. I’m more than willing to listen. And imagine if we can get “to much time for Teddy” some time to get multiple shots a game down field. It will really help open up the offense. Hard to he consistent when you do somethings only a few times a game.
    #skolvikings

  17. lambeaudungbarn says: Jan 13, 2016 7:02 PM

    Fans of other teams just HATE it the fact that the Minnesota Vikings just will not stay down!
    This team is on the verge of greatness. We have the Quarterback of the future, BIG DEAL he isn’t the strongest arm in the NFL. He reminds me a lot of Joe Montana, His scrambling, his IQ, He does MUCH more positive than Neg. He just broke a Playoff record for completion% of over 70%..
    With a decent line and not collapsing every 2 seconds after snap he will make all of you that Doubt him EAT YOUR WORDS!
    The guy just won 11 games with his team this year!!
    I will bet he and Zimmer win at least 2 Super Bowls
    together!
    Minnesota Vikings have the BEST Fan Base in Pro Football! Our Home sellouts prove it!
    And I want to know WHY if you decide to MOD this out again! I have as much right to post as anybody here!
    You allow other team’s fans to post horrible things and not delete them..

    SKOL!!!

  18. steelbreeze676 says: Jan 13, 2016 7:14 PM

    This guy is a great coach. I was recruited by him in HS, but ended up playing against his team in college – they were awesome. He got screwed by the Dolphins and would have done great things with the Raiders this year, I hope he gets another shot one day.

  19. asgrimsnorrison says: Jan 13, 2016 7:18 PM

    I love how Zimmer talked about making the change (before Sprano was announced)…

    When asked if he expected all his assistant coaches back next year, he said “No”.
    Then asked to elaborate, he indicated that they were not going to renew the contract of Jeff Davidson.
    Reporters then asked why?
    Zimmer’s answered, “I didn’t want to”.

    Yeah, offensive line had been a huge area of concern, and I think this guy (another Parcels guy, and Zim listens to Parcels) is a good fit.

  20. flvikesfan says: Jan 13, 2016 7:21 PM

    “And an All-Pro O-line can’t help Bustwater’s accuracy either.”

    Oh you mean the accuracy that earned him the honor of highest completion percentage of any rookie QB in NFL history.

  21. whatjusthapped says: Jan 13, 2016 7:46 PM

    Like being promoted to the Recreational Director on the Titanic. Kalil needs to take off his roller skates and put on a pair of football cleats, Sullivan used to be good but there are no guarantees after a season on IR and year older. Loadholt is just a player and that is the opposite of wine, it doesn’t get any better with age.

    Sparano doesn’t get a lot to work with he at least has more than the QB coach for the Vikings.

    Laces out!

  22. purpleguy says: Jan 13, 2016 7:48 PM

    Better move that that TE coach that went to the Saints — Sparano has tons of O-line coaching experience.

    I can’t believe Sid Hartman got that scoop – he hasn’t had inside connections since Bud Grant was the coach.

  23. son681 says: Jan 13, 2016 7:51 PM

    1 and done.

  24. lionsfan0and16forever says: Jan 13, 2016 7:52 PM

    “Oh you mean the accuracy that earned him the honor of highest completion percentage of any rookie QB in NFL history.”

    Oh you mean the same QB that can’t throw a gaming changing TD to put away a team, let alone throw it past the 15 yard line. Teddy is the reason you lost that game, he can’t complete a big play and Seattle shut down Peterson. 4 FGs don’t win playoff games….Bridgewater is nothing more than a game manager, he’s better then the past QB’s the pathetic Vikes have had, but he’s nothing special.

  25. thejuddstir says: Jan 13, 2016 8:33 PM

    flvikesfan says:
    Jan 13, 2016 7:21 PM
    “And an All-Pro O-line can’t help Bustwater’s accuracy either.”

    Oh you mean the accuracy that earned him the honor of highest completion percentage of any rookie QB in NFL history.
    ————————————————–
    LOL….he also led the league in check down passes…..ya think that one maybe has something to do with the other ! I watched many Vikings games this year and I read the game analysis of games and he struggles mightily with his accuracy over 15-20 yards. Just remember this, statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital!!!

  26. jtainter23 says: Jan 13, 2016 8:37 PM

    Actually 4 FGs would have won that playoff game lol

  27. jiggerdave says: Jan 13, 2016 8:41 PM

    Tony will bond with the FG kicker and they will be besties

  28. steedafla says: Jan 13, 2016 8:42 PM

    What’s funny is how two previous head coaches of the Dolphins are now OL coaches (if Philbin goes to Indy).

  29. The Almighty Cabbage says: Jan 13, 2016 8:49 PM

    So is this the move that starts the “dynasty?”

  30. packersonlywin says: Jan 13, 2016 8:59 PM

    Okay, so now after all the noise has died down I can honestly say that the Vikings are a legitimate threat to the division come next season. Well good for Minnie.

  31. tjacks7 says: Jan 13, 2016 9:18 PM

    The Almighty Cabbage says:
    Jan 13, 2016 8:49 PM
    So is this the move that starts the “dynasty?”

    —-

    No, it was two years ago when they drafted the franchise QB.

  32. skolvikes says: Jan 13, 2016 9:43 PM

    thejuddstir says:
    Jan 13, 2016 6:12 PM

    And an All-Pro O-line can’t help Bustwater’s accuracy either.

    —————

    If you’re going to troll, at the very least, please check the facts.

    Bridgewater was 9th in the NFL with 65.3 completion percentage. Aaron Rodgers? 26th at 60.7…

  33. skolvikes says: Jan 13, 2016 9:49 PM

    LOL….he also led the league in check down passes…..ya think that one maybe has something to do with the other ! I watched many Vikings games this year and I read the game analysis of games and he struggles mightily with his accuracy over 15-20 yards. Just remember this, statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital!!!

    ——-

    Yards per attempt:

    2015 Regular Season:

    Bridgewater: 7.23 (17th)
    Rodgers: 6.68 (30th)

    Playoffs:

    Bridgewater: 6.08 (4th)
    Rodgers: 5.83 (5th)

  34. headwoundharry says: Jan 13, 2016 10:26 PM

    Hello Clarice. Have the Queens stopped screaming?

  35. Same Ol' 1 and Done Vikes says: Jan 13, 2016 10:44 PM

    Oh you mean the accuracy that earned him the honor of highest completion percentage of any rookie QB in NFL history.
    —————-
    Why do Vikings fans insist on just making up bogus statistics?

    Or did you trade for Ben Roethlisberger who holds the record and who’s rookie comp% was 2 entire points higher?

  36. Same Ol' 1 and Done Vikes says: Jan 13, 2016 10:51 PM

    Not only was Big Ben’s rookie comp% a whole 2 points higher than Teddy B, his YPA was also almost 2 yards higher which is a big difference.

    Of course Big Ben was never a checkdown artist because he actually has an arm.

  37. asgrimsnorrison says: Jan 13, 2016 11:54 PM

    Look, if you’re going to criticize Bridgewater’s yards per attempt, yards per game, air yards etc… then that is valid.

    But you cited accuracy, and that is what he is good at. Even in the Seattle game he hit 17/24, which is over 70%. yeah he only got 146 yards out of those 24 attempts, only 6.08 yards per attempt. Wilson actually had fewer yards, 143, on more attempts (26) and fewer completions (13), so he was 50% completion, and 5.5 yards per attempt. And that includes his ridiculous fumble play that went for 35 yards.

    Bridgewater knows he needs to improve on this, if he doesn’t then yeah, he will be considered a failure.

  38. mnfaninil says: Jan 14, 2016 12:01 AM

    Nice hire, a change was needed. Will be interesting to see how the Vikes go about upgrading the talent on the OL and how many starters this year are kept around. Tough decisions with Sullivan and Loadholt returning but over the 30 hump and with fairly large contracts.

  39. h0metownzero says: Jan 14, 2016 12:45 AM

    Any warm body that knows the Heimlich will suffice.

  40. unmercifulone says: Jan 14, 2016 1:05 AM

    “packersonlywin says: Okay, so now after all the noise has died down I can honestly say that the Vikings are a legitimate threat to the division come next season.”

    The Vikings already took the NFC-N division title from Green Bay THIS YEAR, and next year they will be even better. I’m thinking a 13-2-1 or perhaps 14-2-0 season plus make it to the NFCCG… perhaps even play in SB 51… AT HOME!

  41. frank booth says: Jan 14, 2016 5:44 AM

    lambeaudungbarn says:
    Jan 13, 2016 7:02 PM

    Fans of other teams just HATE it the fact that the Minnesota Vikings just will not stay down!
    This team is on the verge of greatness. We have the Quarterback of the future, BIG DEAL he isn’t the strongest arm in the NFL. He reminds me a lot of Joe Montana, His scrambling, his IQ, He does MUCH more positive than Neg. He just broke a Playoff record for completion% of over 70%..
    With a decent line and not collapsing every 2 seconds after snap he will make all of you that Doubt him EAT YOUR WORDS!
    The guy just won 11 games with his team this year!!
    I will bet he and Zimmer win at least 2 Super Bowls
    together!
    Minnesota Vikings have the BEST Fan Base in Pro Football! Our Home sellouts prove it!
    And I want to know WHY if you decide to MOD this out again! I have as much right to post as anybody here!
    You allow other team’s fans to post horrible things and not delete them..

    SKOL!!!
    =================================

    The playoff record for completion % is Tom Brady at 92.5%. He threw for 262 yards and 3 TD’s in 2008 against Jacksonville.

    Bridgewater isn’t even in the Top 50 as far as completion % in a playoff game.

    Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota look like QB’s of the future.

    Bridgewater certainly doesn’t remind anyone of Montana. I’ll give you this though:

    In Montana’s second season, he threw 15 TD’s and 9 INT’s. Of course, he only started 7 games and threw 174 less passes than Bridgewater.

    Bridgewater didn’t lead the Vikings to 11 wins this year. That’s the work of the Vikings’ defense and the NFL’s leading rusher. While Teddy Dilfer had a few good games, he was non-factor in many others. Throwing 8 of your 14 TD passes against Chicago and Detroit isn’t that impressive.

    There are about 10 other teams in with more consecutive sellouts than the Vikings. They are not considered to be one of the more rabid fan bases in the NFL.

    BTW, the Vikings’ did stay down, last Sunday.

  42. stellarperformance says: Jan 14, 2016 9:04 AM

    lambeaudungbarn says:
    Jan 13, 2016 7:02 PM
    Fans of other teams just HATE it the fact that the Minnesota Vikings just will not stay down!
    /////////////////////////////////

    Uhh….earth-to-dungbarn……they’re down.

  43. lambeaudungbarn says: Jan 14, 2016 9:22 AM

    UNFINISHED BUSINESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. summitmech says: Jan 14, 2016 9:24 AM

    The Almighty Cabbage says:
    Jan 13, 2016 8:49 PM
    So is this the move that starts the “dynasty?”
    ————————————————————-

    No. That was hiring Zimmer. And it’s working.

  45. summitmech says: Jan 14, 2016 9:26 AM

    The Vikings have 3 coaches with head coaching experience in the NFL. I mean, that’s pretty awesome.

  46. filthymcnasty3 says: Jan 14, 2016 9:54 AM

    I dub thee Sir Shanksalot.

  47. pervyspankspackfans says: Jan 14, 2016 10:36 AM

    Sparano masterminded that great TE scheme that clobbered the Viking when we opened in San Fran. He’ll get this line shaped up, with a mean tough presence. Just what we need.

  48. jimnsota says: Jan 14, 2016 12:42 PM

    Last season is done.

    Looking forward to the new stadium and a team that has been constructed over the last three years to establish a long run of playoff appearances.

  49. truvikingfan says: Jan 15, 2016 4:35 PM

    The pieces are in place

  50. frank booth says: Jan 15, 2016 5:29 PM

    truvikingfan says:
    Jan 15, 2016 4:35 PM

    The pieces are in place
    ===================================
    I always laugh when I hear this phrase. Years ago, when Dave Wannstedt was the Bears head coach, he said those words.

    A few years later, all of the places were in pieces.

    I don’t think it will go that way with the Vikings however. But unless Bridgewater improves, they are going to be limited by him.

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