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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Tony Sparano Remembered As Rookies Report To Training Camp

By Vikings – WCCO | CBS Minnesota

EAGAN, Minn. (WCCO) — Vikings players and fans are experiencing the team’s first training camp at TCO Performance Center in Eagan.

For more than 50 years, the Vikings’ training camp was held in Mankato.

Coach Mike Zimmer held an emotional news conference Wednesday morning, following the unexpected death earlier this week of offensive line coach Tony Sparano.

The 56-year-old, who joined the Vikings in 2016, died Sunday of heart disease. Before coming to Minnesota, he coached with Zimmer for several years, and the two had a close relationship.

“Tony was a very good friend of mine, excellent football coach and mentor for me,” Zimmer said. “He was always here very early in the morning, as I usually am, and we were able to sit down and talk, not just about football, but about life.”

Zimmer became emotional when talking about the death of his wife eight years ago, when he and Sparano were coaching in Dallas. He said that Sparano’s wife always reminded him of the woman he lost.

As such, a cloud hung over the practice facility Wednesday as rookies reported for the team’s first training day. Veterans, such as quarterback Kirk Cousins, were also present.

A memorial service for Sparano is planned for Friday, and the team canceled practice in honor of Sparano.

On Saturday, the veterans will report to camp.

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.”

Source:: CBS Minnesota

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