EAGAN, Minn. – Andrew Janocko grew up throwing to receivers on the football field, and now he'll be coaching them.
The Vikings moved Janocko, who worked with Minnesota's offensive line from 2017-19, to wide receivers coach for the 2020 season.
On Tuesday he told Twin Cities media members that he's comfortable making the move.
"Each position group, there's a uniqueness to it. Positions in the NFL, positions in the game of football, there's little details and stuff to it," Janocko said. "[But being] in this offense, in this system, for a couple years, I think the transition will be smooth.
"I'm excited about it," he added. "Excited to be back with the passing game, to be back on that aspect after being with the offensive line the last couple years."
A native of Clearfield, Pennsylvania, Janocko played quarterback for the Clearfield Bison under his father, Tim Janocko; he later went on to letter at Pittsburgh, where he served as a backup quarterback for the Panthers.
In 2014, Janocko coached quarterbacks at Division II Mercyhurst.
He got his start with the Vikings as offensive quality control coach from 2015-16 and the following season transitioned to offensive line under the late Tony Sparano.
Janocko admitted that he never anticipated working with that position group but is glad he did.
"Tony Sparano put his arm around me one day and said, 'Hey, I want you to come work with me.' He said, 'I think it'll be great for your development for a couple years.' And it was. It was an amazing experience, and I was really grateful for that," Janocko said.
He explained that working with the offensive line helped him to understand the game of football on a different level.
"The details of the offensive line – what they're doing, the little techniques that they're doing with their footwork, with their hand placement and all that type of stuff. That's something that you don't realize until you're really involved in that position," he said. "You can make calls and direct a protection one way, or adjust the Mike (middle linebacker), but then when you understand what is really happening through all that … you understand the game even more."
Beyond an in-depth development of the Xs and Os, Janocko learned from Sparano how to "care about people" in addition to statistics.
"Everybody [says], 'It's a business, it's a business, it's a business.' It is, but we're still people," Janocko said. "You're still with somebody for a lot of hours a day, several months out of the year, playing a physical sport that demands a lot emotionally, mentally. So, just caring about people, caring about your players."
View photos of the Vikings 2020 coaching staff.
Janocko also spoke highly of Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak, who joined the Vikings last season as the assistant head coach/offensive advisor. Janocko emphasized trying to "be a sponge" and absorb all he can from the longtime coach.
"He's thorough. He can adapt. If a guy's not getting it one way, then he'll adapt the teaching style another way," he said of Kubiak. "I've seen [my dad] do that for a long time, and that's one thing that I think makes great teachers and great coaches, is the way they can adapt their style to different players."
Janocko is packing up everything he's learned from Sparano, Kubiak and his father, among others, and taking it with him from the O-line room down the hall to the receivers room.
He's looking forward to working with a position group that has been anchored for the past few seasons by starters Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.
"First of all, they're phenomenal talents. They're passionate players," Janocko said of the duo. "The passion is really something that excites me. Those guys love to win. They love to play. They're excited about stepping out on the field, and you see that in their eyes."
As he prepares to work with a new group of players, Janocko shared his philosophy and approach to the upcoming season:
"The system's not changing, so that stuff is all going to remain the same," he said. "I just think the one thing I want to establish is, 'We're in this together.'
"When one person has success, we all have success," he continued. "Whether that's from an offensive standpoint or just our room as the receivers room, when we have success, we do things the way that they're taught, the way that they're installed, and we take the little details and grow on those, we're all going to have success and be very happy about that."