EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings have shuffled their coaching staff around following the tragic and sudden passing of Tony Sparano.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer announced Saturday morning that Clancy Barone and Andrew Janocko will be co-offensive line coaches for the 2018 season.
Todd Downing, who was hired in February as a Senior Offensive Assistant, will coach the tight ends.
“Clancy coached the Denver Broncos offensive line when they won the Super Bowl,” Zimmer said. “Andrew is a great young coach and he was Tony’s right-hand man, knows everything that Tony did. I feel really good about it, these guys are experienced in the things that they’re doing. I think it was the best way to go.
Zimmer later added: “For the last two years, we’ve worked really hard on the footwork and the techniques, the schemes that we’re running. So, I felt like it was important that we continue to do that, regardless of whatever we decided to do. I didn’t want to change the player’s terminology or footwork or any of that stuff. “
Barone spent the 2017 season, his first in Minnesota, as the Vikings tight ends coach. He spent the 2010, 2015 and 2016 seasons as the offensive line coach in Denver. Barone was an offensive lineman in college at Nevada and Sacramento State.
Janocko was the assistant offensive line coach in 2017 under Sparano, who suddenly passed away Sunday at the age of 56. Janocko was a quarterback at the University of Pittsburgh and joined the Vikings as an offensive quality control coach in 2015.
The two has been working together with the offensive line in recent days.
“Everything happened so fast that I kind of had to move things around a bit,” Zimmer said. “I knew Clancy had coached the offensive line before. He was coaching the tight ends so it’s a pretty close proximity there.”
Sparano and Janocko helped lead an offensive line that allowed just 27 sacks in 2017, which was tied for the fourth-fewest in the league. The Vikings also ranked seventh overall in rushing after finishing 32nd in that category in 2016.
Zimmer said players are handling Sparano’s passing the best they can.
“Obviously, they all feel bad for Tony, they all loved him,” Zimmer said. “They understand that we have to move forward, we have to go on.
“Really, these guys are professionals, they understand that things happen. This isn’t the first thing that something has happened to us here,” Zimmer added. “We’re used to overcoming adversity and that’s what we’re going to do continue to do.”
Downing is a Minnesota native who played at Eden Prairie High School. He began his NFL coaching career with the Vikings in a variety of roles from 2001 to 2005. Downing was Oakland’s offensive coordinator in 2017.