Vikings: Discussions ongoing with assistant coach Rick Dennison after refusing COVID-19 vaccine |

Vikings: Discussions ongoing with assistant coach Rick Dennison after refusing COVID-19 vaccine

Tommy Wiita
Updated: July 23, 2021 10:20 PM
Created: July 23, 2021 02:15 PM

After refusing to receive a vaccine for COVID-19, Minnesota Vikings assistant coach Rick Dennison may be on his way out.

ESPN first reported the news on Friday, saying Dennison and the Vikings were parting ways.

The Vikings said the organization is still talking with Dennison and released the following statement on Friday:

"The Vikings continue to hold discussions with Offensive Line Coach Rick Dennison regarding the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocols for training camp and preseason games. At this time, Coach Dennison does not have an exemption to the vaccination requirements of those protocols. We will adhere to the requirements of the protocols and of applicable law."

Dennison, who has served as the team's offensive line coach/run game coordinator the past two seasons, is believed to be the first NFL position coach to leave his team after choosing not to receive a vaccine.

According to a memo released by the NFL, the vaccine is required for all Tier 1 staff, including coaches, front office executives, equipment managers and scouts. Players are not required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but will face strict protocols during training camp and throughout the season that vaccinated players will be able to forgo. 

According to a source, Phil Raucscher may be in line for a promotion from assistant offensive line coach to fill the position's need. The Vikings also reportedly hired Ben Steele, who had recently been hired by Auburn as a special teams analyst, to fill the position Rauscher had held since 2019.

This is a developing story. KSTP Sports will update with more information as it is learned.

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