Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano has been with the team for two seasons, but it’s incredible how different those two seasons have been. Last year the Vikings lost so many starters on the offensive line that they couldn’t protect anyone, giving up the 10th-most sacks in the league, or run block, averaging an NFL-worst 75.3 rushing yards per game. “Last year honestly was probably one of the tougher coaching jobs that I’ve had,” Sparano said. “I’ve just never been through having to go through 12 people and actually playing 12 guys before. When you lose your first two tackles in the first three weeks, I mean, that made it a little bit difficult. “We adjusted and planned for adjustments and we adjusted. A lot of young guys played, and that’s paying off now.” Yes it is. The Vikings have given up only 10 sacks in nine games. That’s the NFL’s second-lowest mark behind the Saints, who have Drew Brees, one of the quickest-release passers in league history. The Vikings are rushing for 118.0 yards per game, 11th in the NFL, despite seeing starter Dalvin Cook go down because of a knee injury in Week 4. Sparano said that at the end of last season he had a feeling that this year would be different. “Because so many guys played, we were doing better,” he said. “We just couldn’t keep those players in specific positions. An example would be a guy like Joe Berger, who was a center and ends up playing guard, and Jeremiah Sirles maybe played three or four positions during the course of that. “But I felt like the playing time and the amount of playing time they got allowed us to get a little better by the end of the season.” Sparano said that one of the biggest changes on the line — which added tackles Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff while losing tackles Matt Kalil and Andre Smith in free agency, and cut guard Alex Boone in training camp — is the toughness they show.
Massive improvement by Vikings offensive line
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Nov 19