Report: Vikings offensive line coach out after refusing COVID-19 vaccine

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FILE – Then-Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison runs on the field prior to an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Minnesota’s offensive line remains a work in progress, but the Vikings have a trusted teacher to follow in Rick Dennison, the longtime position coach with a unique background in civil engineering. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)

(WFRV) – The Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach and run game coordinator Rick Dennison parted ways with the team on Friday after refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a report by ESPN.

Dennison has been the Vikings offensive line coach and run game coordinator for the past two seasons.

The NFL requires that all Tier 1 staff, which includes coaches, to been fully vaccinated. Not having Tier 1 status prohibits coaches, executives, equipment staff, and others from being on the practice field, in team meetings, or having direct contact with players.

Dennison is believed to be the first coach in the league to leave a team after refusing to follow that COVID-19 protocol and get the vaccine.

Players are not required to be fully vaccinated, but face stricter protocols if they choose not to get the shot. On Thursday the league sent out a memo to teams informing them of possible forfeits if there are unvaccinated outbreaks that lead to a game being cancelled.

Dennison on will be replaced by Vikings assistant offensive line coach Phil Rauscher, according to the ESPN report. Dennison has been an assistant coach in the NFL for 26 years with the bulk of his time being spent in Denver, but also with stints with the Houston Texans, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, and Buffalo Bills.

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