EAGAN, Minn. -- Following the death of Tony Sparano, Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer announced Saturday that Clancy Barone and Andrew Janocko will be the Vikings' co-offensive line coaches for the 2018 season.
Barone, who worked with the Vikings' tight ends last season, coached the offensive line in Denver when the Broncos won Super Bowl 50. Janocko was Sparano's "right-hand man," having served as the team's assistant offensive line coach since 2017.
Zimmer said protecting the continuity the O-line built under Sparano played a role in his decision to go with his in-house options.
"It was important," Zimmer said. "For the last two years, we've worked really hard on the footwork, techniques and schemes that we were running, so I felt like it was important that we continued to do that regardless of whatever we decided to do. I didn't want to change the players terminology or footwork or any of that stuff."
Todd Downing, whose close relationship to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo led to him being hired as a senior offensive assistant, will be promoted to tight ends coach. Downing was the Raiders offensive coordinator in 2017 and previously worked with quarterbacks in Oakland.
"Guys who have been through the war, they're not afraid to voice their opinion or come in here and they'll give ideas and they'll go to work," Zimmer said. "Todd's a great young coach. He's very respectful. He understands where he's at and what he's trying to do and trying to help us win."
Minnesota canceled practice Friday, when veteran players were slated to report, to allow the entire team to attend Sparano's funeral. The team will have its first full squad practice Saturday afternoon as the entire 90-man roster begins to move forward in Sparano's absence.
"Obviously they all feel bad for Tony. They all loved him," Zimmer said. "But they understand that we have to move forward, we have to go on and really these guys are professionals. They understand that things happen. This isn't the first time that something has happened to us here, so we're used to overcoming adversity and that's what we're going to continue to do."