the Vikings of Minnesota and assistant coach Rick Dennison have separated after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, ESPN reported on Friday.
His departure comes just a day after the NFL issued a memo against unvaccinated gamers.
DEANDRE HOPKINS OF CARDINALS AND NFL PLAYERS FALL BACK LEAGUE ON COVID POLICY TARGETING UNVACCINATED PLAYERS
Dennison, who has been the team’s offensive line coach and match coordinator since 2019, parted ways with the Vikings after choosing not to be vaccinated, making him the first coach to do so, according to the report.
A source told the outlet that Phil Rauscher, who currently serves as an assistant offensive line coach, will take on the role of Dennison.
The Vikings issued the following statement, confirming that Dennison does not have an exemption from vaccination requirements.
On Thursday, the NFL sent a note to the 32 clubs advising them that COVID outbreaks among unvaccinated players could lead to game forfeiture and game loss.
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Commissioner Roger Goodell said in the note that the league has no plans to add an extra week to host games that need to be rescheduled due to COVID outbreaks. He further said epidemics among unvaccinated players could lead to confiscation and lost wages for both teams if matches are called off.
The memo was widely seen as a way to force vaccination without requiring it.
The league also noted that while “over 75 percent of players are getting vaccinated,” almost all clubs have vaccinated 100 percent of their level 1 and 2 staff. ”
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According to ESPN, the vaccine is mandatory for all Level 1 staff, unlike players who have the option.
Dennison began his coaching career with the Denver Broncos in 1995 where he remained until 2009 before moving to Texans de Houston where he served as an offensive coordinator. He returned to Denver for the 2015 and 2016 seasons before joining the Vikings in February 2019. He also spent time with the New York Jets, Bison Tickets and the Baltimore Ravens.