To say COVID-19 vaccinations is a scorching matter within the NFL is a gross understatement. On one hand, you could have Buffalo Payments broad receiver Cole Beasley publicly denouncing vaccinations, and on the opposite, you could have the league and stiff monetary penalties (and extra) if a contest cannot be performed as a result of a breakout stemming from unvaccinated gamers — adopted by All-Professional wideout DeAndre Hopkins questioning his future within the NFL due to it. And now, in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Vikings have set a large precedent of their very own.
The Vikings reportedly parted methods with Rick Dennison, per Courtney Cronin of ESPN, the membership’s offensive line coach and run recreation coordinator. In his place, Minnesota will promote assistant O-line coach Phil Rauscher and rent Auburn particular groups analyst Ben Steele as an assistant.
This marks the primary occasion of a workforce divorcing a coach as a result of COVID-19 vaccine, however wasn’t the final. Afterward Friday, information got here down that Cole Popovich, co-offensive line coach for the New England Patriots, won’t be teaching the workforce in 2021 as a result of NFL’s necessities.
In Dennison’s case, nevertheless, it appears the Vikings might have left the door open for him, because the workforce later launched a press release.
“The Vikings proceed to carry discussions with Offensive Line Coach Rick Dennison relating to the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocols for coaching camp and preseason video games,” it reads. “At the moment, Coach Dennison doesn’t have an exemption to the vaccination necessities of these protocols. We are going to adhere to the necessities of the protocols and of relevant regulation.”
Earlier this summer time, the NFL made it clear all Tier 1 workers should both be vaccinated or present a non secular or medical purpose for abstaining. Absent these pardons, the workers member can be faraway from Tier 1 standing and prohibited from having direct interactions with gamers together with, however not restricted to, being in assembly rooms and on the sidelines. After all, that may make it just about unattainable for somebody like Dennison to do his job and, as such, he now not has one in Minnesota.
The 63-year-old joined the Vikings in 2019 in his present function and has three Tremendous Bowl wins below his belt previous to arriving — a longtime assistant of the Denver Broncos who additionally frolicked with the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Payments and New York Jets. Dennison carries a wealth of teaching expertise, however until he will get vaccinated, he will not be an possibility for any NFL workforce as a Tier 1 particular person.
As for the Vikings, they’re going to hit reset going into coaching camp and hope Rauscher can merely step up and assist newly-installed offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak get issues ironed out. Dennison is a favourite and longtime buddy of Kubiak from their time spent collectively in Denver, however Rauscher is coming into his seventh season as an NFL assistant — having joined the Vikings in 2020 to help Dennison. And Kubiak does have familiarity with Steele, with Steels having performed at tight finish for finish at one level in Houston.
The Vikings wish to shock the world this season on the sector however, first, they’ve achieved that objective off of it.