Who will be the Minnesota Vikings’ new offensive line coach?
By Adam Patrick
After the sudden passing of Tony Sparano, the Minnesota Vikings must now figure out who they are going to select as his replacement on the coaching staff.
Shockwaves were sent through the entire Minnesota Vikings organization on Sunday after offensive line coach Tony Sparano unexpectedly passed away.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, their time to grieve before getting back to work will not be very long as the first portion of players will report to the team’s training camp on Tuesday. Not only did Minnesota lose a great person and friend in Sparano on Sunday, but now the team has to figure out who will take over his duties as the offensive line coach in 2018.
It’s possible that the Vikings could bring in someone from the outside who is currently not a member of the team’s coaching staff. However, promoting from within seems like the most logical decision for Minnesota to make given the timing of this unfortunate event.
Among the candidates who are likely to be considered for Sparano’s now vacant role are current Vikings assistant offensive line coach Andrew Janocko and tight ends coach Clancy Barone.
Last season was Janocko’s first as Minnesota’s assistant offensive line coach as he spent both 2015 and 2016 as an offensive assistant for the team.
He is obviously very familiar with the blocking schemes he and Sparano have installed over the last year and a half, so the Vikings just promoting Janocko to be their head offensive line coach may be the decision that results in the smoothest transition possible.
Prior to becoming Minnesota’s tight ends coach in 2017, Barone spent the 2016, 2015, and 2010 seasons as the Denver Broncos’ offensive line coach. He has been coaching offensive line and tight ends in the NFL since 2004, so the experience in the league as a top assistant is there.
It’s possible that Minnesota could have Barone take over Sparano’s duties with the offensive line and also remain the team’s tight ends coach. However, there are zero assistants in the NFL currently that are in charge of both the offensive line and the tight ends for their team.
So if the Vikings do decide to make Barone their new offensive line coach, it seems as though his duties would likely be restricted to that position group only.
Minnesota could then possibly shuffle around their staff and move current quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski back to his old role as the tight ends coach and then have either John DeFilippo or Todd Downing takeover Stefanski’s role with the quarterbacks.
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It’s definitely a complicated decision that the Vikings unfortunately have to figure out sooner than they would like. At the latest, expect Sparano’s old position on Minnesota’s coaching staff to be filled by the end of the week.