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Rick Dennison to stay on with Vikings after COVID vaccine controversy

But he won't be the team's offensive line coach.
Rick Dennison

Rick Dennison is no longer the Vikings' offensive line coach — but he's also not out of a job.

The team Tuesday announced Dennison will serve as a senior offensive advisor for the upcoming season. Phil Rauscher, heading into his second season with the Vikings after stints in Washington and Denver, will take over the offensive line coach role. The team also added Ben Steele as assistant offensive line coach.

Related: Bring Me The News launches weekly Vikings livestream with Purple Insider's Matthew Coller

The Vikings made little mention of what was behind the coaching shake-up change, briefly citing "the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols."

The moves stem from last week's report by ESPN's Courtney Cronin, which said Dennison had been let go because he refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The NFL has mandated that all Tier 1 staff, which includes coaches, can only have full access to in-person team functions if they are fully vaccinated. 

After Cronin's report, the Vikings said they were holding "discussions" with Dennison about COVID-19 protocols, noting he did not have an exemption to the vaccination requirement.

Dennison has been Minnesota's offensive line coach and run game coordinator the past two seasons.

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