Tony Sparano, Minnesota Vikings Offensive Line Coach, Dies at 56

Tony Sparano, Minnesota Vikings Offensive Line Coach, Dies at 56

EAGAN, Minn. — Tony Sparano, the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line coach, died Sunday at the age of 56, the team said.

The team announced Sparano’s death in a statement but did not specify the cause of death. Sparano had been the Vikings’ offensive line coach since 2016.

“Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren,” the Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in the statement. “Tony’s presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed.”

Sparano began his N.F.L. coaching career in 1999 and had stints as a head coach with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders.

He was the Dolphins’ head coach from the 2008 season through the 2011 season, going 29-32 in four seasons. He went 11-5 and won the A.F.C. East in his first season with Miami.

Sparano also spent time with the Browns, Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys and 49ers.

Sparano played football at the University of New Haven, where he was a four-year letterman. He was hired as New Haven’s head coach in 1994 and held that position for five seasons.

Sparano is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren.

The Vikings open training camp on July 28.

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