Vikings assistant coach Rick Dennison out after refusing vaccine

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Rick Dennison, the Vikings offensive line coach and run game coordinator, is out after refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a report.

As reported by ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, assistant offensive line coach Phil Rauscher will be promoted to replace Dennison. Per Cronin, the team hired Ben Steele, who was recently appointed as a special teams analyst at Auburn, to be the assistant offensive line coach now, replacing the promoted Rauscher.

Rauscher has been with the Vikings since 2020 and is entering his seventh season in the league.

Dennison has been in the league for a lot longer than that. He was entering his 27th season as an NFL coach. He has won three Super Bowl titles as a coach, all of which came with the Broncos.

Though the vaccine is a requirement for coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers and scouts, it is not required for the players. However, as Mike Zimmer pointed out earlier this offseason, unvaccinated players are going to have a hard time.

“They have to make their own decisions,” Zimmer said. “They are going to be wearing masks, they’re going to have to social distance, they’ll have daily testing. They won’t go home for bye week and have to come back here and test every day. When we go on the road, they won’t be able to go out to dinner with anybody. They’ll have to travel on buses differently and travel on planes differently, so a lot of meetings will be virtual like we have here. It’s not only the safety part of being vaccinated, but as far as being a part of a football team.”

Whether you’re a player, coach, executive or team employee, you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to the vaccine and the NFL season.