Tony Sparano was an NFL lifer, moving from city to city, team to team, impacting players up and down the roster wherever he coached.
His sudden death Sunday morning left his current and former players grieving. It hit especially close at home, where the Vikings are set to open training camp Tuesday when the rookies and quarterbacks report. Sparano, the team's offensive line coach and running game coordinator, had been with the Vikings since 2016, but his pro coaching career began in 1999 and included multiple teams, including as the head coach of the Dolphins and interim head coach of the Raiders.
Vikings players, who aren't available to speak to the media until Wednesday, reacted to his death on social media. Among them was running back Latavius Murray, who played previously in Oakland, receiver Adam Thielen, defensive end Everson Griffen and others.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer expressed sadness in a statement released shortly after the news broke on Sunday.
"I love Tony Sparano. He was a great teacher, a grinder of a worker and had a toughness and fighting spirit that showed in our linemen. He was a great husband, father and grandfather and a great friend to me. This is just sinking in for us but Tony will be sorely missed by all."