Former Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano passed away unexpectedly on Monday at age 56.
Sparano, who has been with the Vikings as their offensive line coach for the past two seasons, joined the Jets in 2012 to be the head of their offense. Before that, he spent three seasons as the Dolphins' head coach from 2008-11.
Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf made a statement that paid homage to Sparano's energetic nature and passionate personality for the game of football.
"Our hearts go out to Jeanette and the entire Sparano family as we all mourn the loss of Tony," they wrote. "Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Tony's presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed. We are only thinking of Tony's family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts."
Many Vikings players, including TE Kyle Rudolph and WR Adam Theilen, have reacted to this sad news. Even former Jets and current Giants DT Damon "Snacks" Harrison went to Twitter to give his prayers to the Sparano family.
Nooooo. Prayers up for the Sparano family! Wow. Great and awesome man! Rest in heaven! https://t.co/4vVkKbWI8H- Damon Harrison Sr. (@snacks) July 22, 2018
Vikings training camp was set to start on Tuesday with rookies reporting, with full team practices beginning on Saturday. What is usually an exciting time will now be filled with mourning for the Vikings and the rest of the football world after the passing of a great coach in Sparano.