Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano has been having trouble getting sleep while thinking about the problems the team is having on the line.
The offensive line of the Minnesota Vikings has been a problem. More specifically, the decimation of any depth the team had has led to bringing in free agents or shuffling players around to hope for success.
In fact, the issues on offense have led to the resignation of offensive coordinator Norv Turner earlier this year, forcing the team to promote Pat Shurmur to that position. Inheriting the problems is something no coach dreams of, but at least he has offensive line coach Tony Sparano to help out.
According to the Pioneer Press, those thoughts of a dwindling offensive line haven’t been great for Sparano’s sleep schedule. The offensive line coach is in new territory with the team’s injury issues and it has his mind racing.
"“I’m not sleeping a lot lately these days,” Sparano acknowledged Thursday. “It’s something, obviously, I haven’t been a part of, these scenarios where you go 10-12 linemen deep. There’s been a lot of moving parts and a lot of change.”"
That’s not to say that it is entirely negative for Sparano. He enjoys the challenge of trying to use the players available to get a recipe for success on the offensive line. And, of course, a sturdy offensive line helps both the pass and run game develop.
"“I see it as a challenge and I love a challenge,” he said. “Whatever the chess pieces are when we go out there, we have to figure out a way to play to the best of our ability to give ourselves a chance to win football games. That part of it I enjoy.”"
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One of the positives for Sparano is that he has some versatile pieces to move around. Several guys on the Vikings offensive line can be moved around to fill needs in different place. That kind of player can be very valuable when trying to put a strong unit together.
But something Sparano doesn’t like is excuses. Despite the team’s injury situation, he will continue to press forward to find a solution.
"“It’s just when you’re changing the pieces … we all have to know our jobs and sometimes we have to know more than our job. That’s what keeps us in the league a long time. They can line the excuses up for our football team around the corner right now. We just choose not use them.”"
The Minnesota Vikings will get another chance to test out their offensive line against the Arizona Cardinals in week 11. The November 20, 2016 game in front of the crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium should be an interesting game to test out the new offensive line after placing Jake Long on injured reserve.
**UPDATED 11/18/16 for errors. Pat Shurmur is the offensive coordinator, NOT Sparano.