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Tight Ends Coach Barone on Super Bowl, Assessing Kyle Rudolph

Posted Feb 15, 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Clancy Barone has won a Super Bowl and lost another as a coach.

But less than a month into his time in Minnesota, it’s clear that Barone, whom the Vikings hired as their new tight ends coach in January, is hungry for another chance at a championship.

Barone chatted with Vikings.com’s Mike Wobschall on Wednesday and delivered a motivational message on getting back to the big game.

“Winning is better than losing, obviously,” quipped Barone, who won Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos. “I could tell you what it’s like but I would rather show you.”

Barone spent eight total seasons with the Broncos. He was Denver’s tight ends coach in 2009 and from 2011-2014, and also coached the Broncos offensive line for three seasons.

Barone inherits a tight end group that is led by Kyle Rudolph, who is coming off one of the best seasons for a tight end in franchise history.

Rudolph set career highs with 83 catches for 840 yards and added a team-high seven touchdown catches.

Barone said he studied Rudolph when the tight end was coming out of Notre Dame in 2011, and is thrilled to have the chance to work with the former second-round pick.

“I also studied Kyle when he came out of college, and he was a guy I wanted to draft,” Barone said. “As luck would have it, I didn’t have that chance to draft him, but I have him now.

“I’m sure Kyle would say this, too, but there’s not a player in this league — past, present or future — that’s ever had a perfect game or a perfect season,” Barone added. “There’s always that thing to strive for, so I’ve got a list, and it’s not a very long list, of things that Kyle and I will look at once he gets back here in town. Just keep taking steps to help him have that close-to-perfect game or season.” 

Barone, who also spent time in Atlanta and San Diego, has a history with some of the league’s top tight ends. He coached a trio of Pro Bowlers in Antonio Gates of the Chargers, former Atlanta tight end Alge Crumpler and former Broncos tight end Julius Thomas.

Barone said all three of those players displayed a special work ethic on and off the field.

“The first thing you have to look at is that all three of these guys are driven to be great,” Barone said. “Not just average and not just wanting to come in and go to work, but guys that want to be great and be known for being something special.

“That’s probably the one common thread with all three of those guys,” he added.

Barone said he’s looking for a few specific characteristics from his players, but added that the culture of the team begins with Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and the coaching staff.

“Being tough has to be there. That is paramount,” Barone said of traits he looks for in players. “Being smart has to also be up there as well. That’s No. 1 and 2 in either order.

“But I think along with that, you have to have great chemistry, and I believe that comes from the top down,” Barone said. “It starts with guys like Zim’ and goes to us as coaches and then hopefully goes into our players.”

If everything can come together for Barone and the Vikings, perhaps the Vikings new tight ends coach can make a third appearance in a Super Bowl.