The Minnesota Vikings are losing assistant coach Rick Dennison right before the start of training camp. The NFL requires all tier-one staff to get the Covid-19 vaccine. However, Dennison is refusing and is losing his coaching job as a result.
Tier-one staff is those in most contact with players on the team. For example, an offensive coordinator or defensive backs coach are some classified as tier-one staff. Dennison is the offensive line and runs game coordinator for the Vikings, so he is one of the coaches the NFL requires to take the vaccine.
The team will promote assistant offensive coach Phil Rauscher to replace Dennison. Dennison was on the staff for two seasons and is now the first coach to lose their job due to vaccine refusal.
The NFL's new vaccine policy says that teams could potentially forfeit if an outbreak occurs within the organization. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo to all 32 teams stating how they will handle the season if an outbreak occurs.
"If a game can't be rescheduled and is canceled due to a COVID outbreak among non-vaccinated players on one of the competing teams, the team with the outbreak will forfeit and will be deemed to have played 16 games for purposes of draft, waiver priority, etc."Roger Goodell
There's a lot of mixed emotions about this new policy. However, 80 percent of the players at least have one dose of the vaccine. In addition, nine teams have more than 90 percent of their players vaccinated.
Players are still going to voice their opinions on the vaccine. For example, players such as DJ Reed and Deandre Hopkins are not so quick to partake in a vaccine. Hopkins even says his future is in question with the NFL if they require him to take the vaccine.
The Vikings are letting go of their assistant coach just a week before training camp. Unfortunately, he may not be the last to lose his job either. Players and coaches could lose jobs for refusing the vaccine, especially if they sit towards the bottom of a roster. It's looking like the vaccine could play a huge role in deciding a few team's fates this upcoming season.