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Vikings O-line coach: 'I'm not sleeping a lot lately'

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Minnesota's issues along the offensive line are no state secret.

Hampered by the loss of three tackles -- Matt Kalil, Andre Smith and Jake Long -- the Vikings have been forced to start 10 different blockers this autumn and now march into Sunday's clash against Arizona sporting their seventh starting lineup.

It's been no joyride for first-year offensive line assistant Tony Sparano, but the former Dolphins and Raiders head coach is determined to improve the group.

"I'm not sleeping a lot lately these days," Sparano said Thursday, per the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "It's something, obviously, I haven't been a part of, these scenarios where you go 10-12 linemen deep. There's been a lot of moving parts and a lot of change."

The injuries and shuffling up front have done nothing to help a ground game that ranks last in the NFL with just one 100-yard outing all season.

"I see it as a challenge and I love a challenge," Sparano said. "Whatever the chess pieces are when we go out there, we have to figure out a way to play to the best of our ability to give ourselves a chance to win football games. That part of it I enjoy."

Said Sparano: "It's just when you're changing the pieces ... we all have to know our jobs and sometimes we have to know more than our job. That's what keeps us in the league a long time. They can line the excuses up for our football team around the corner right now. We just choose not use them."

Minnesota's line woes turn Sunday's showdown with Arizona into a rugged assignment for a Vikings team that hasn't won a game since Week 5. The Cardinals roll into town with the NFL's second-best defense and a pair of pass-rushers in Chandler Jones and Markus Golden who have battered quarterbacks all season.

If the Vikings hope to save their campaign, it must come this Sunday -- and it starts with Sparano's hodgepodge line keeping signal-caller Sam Bradford in an upright position.

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