The Minnesota Vikings have lost a member of their coaching staff due to the vaccine protocols the NFL has implemented this season.
Vikings assistant coach Rick Dennison has left the team after he refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. The 63-year-old had been Minnesota’s offensive line coach and run game coordinator for the past two seasons.
The NFL has essentially made vaccination a requirement for all Tier 1 staff, which includes coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers and scouts. Any Tier 1 staff member that refuses to get a COVID-19 vaccine must provide a valid religious or medical reason. Those individuals would then lose their Tier 1 status, meaning they cannot be on the field or in meeting rooms or have any direct access to players.
Cronin reports that Phil Rauscher has been promoted from assistant offensive line coach with Dennison departing.
Players have not technically been required to get vaccinated, but those who do not will face restrictions. The NFL announced this week that COVID-19 outbreaks among unvaccinated players could even result in a team having to forfeit a game. One star player said he is rethinking his playing future with the way the league is pressuring players to get vaccinated.