EAGAN, Minn. (WCCO) — There is a cloud that hovers over Minnesota Vikings Training Camp.
That came with the untimely and shocking death of offensive line coach Tony Sparano. On Wednesday, the team addressed it to the media for the first time.
Wednesday was supposed to be the beginning of excitement out at Vikings camp in Eagan. A new facility, a new training camp for the Minnesota Vikings and the rookies reported.
But the backdrop offers a cloud, with the death of Tony Sparano. They did go through a workout on Wednesday, the rookies that reported. Veterans will join them on Saturday.
Kirk Cousins was present. They need quarterbacks to throw to the rookies that are practicing. Most of Wednesday, as you talked to people around the organization, knew it was about the healing process after the untimely and death of Tony Sparano on Sunday. He worked a long time with Mike Zimmer, and after practice concluded Wednesday, both he and Rick Spielman had a tough time holding back the emotion they felt for their special friend.
“In his short time here with the Minnesota Vikings, Tony was such a critical part of our success. Not only as a football coach, but what he stood for as a man,” Spielman said.
“Unfortunately I’ve been through this about eight years ago when I lost my wife so we’re hoping this is the last time. But Tony was a very good friend of mine,” Zimmer said. “Excellent football coach. A mentor for me.”
They’re honoring him with a scoreboard dedication on the field at the TCO Performance Center. A memorial service for Sparano will be held Friday. On Saturday, the veterans report to Eagan and training camp will officially commence.
The Fan Experience
For fans, the Vikings’ first training camp in Eagan brought some changes.
To attend the camp is free, but fans still need to get a ticket online.
On Wednesday, about 200 fans turned up to watch the rookies practice. They also got to run some drills.
Looking forward to the coming season, the feeling among fans is optimistic.
“We’re going to the Super Bowl this year,” said Carl Anderson, Sr., of Andover. “I want to be here to support them, and see it first.”