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Minnesota Vikings assistant coach's future in question after refusing COVID-19 vaccine

As the NFL continues its mission to vaccinate the league's players and staff, some are forced to make the choice between refusing the jab and staying employed.

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Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver BC
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Update: The Minnesota Vikings released a statement Friday night that read:

"The Vikings continue to hold discussions with Offensive Line Coach Rick Dennison regarding the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocols for training camp and preseason games. At this time, Coach Dennison does not have an exemption to the vaccination requirements of those protocols. We will adhere to the requirements of the protocols and of applicable law."


As the NFL continues its mission to vaccinate the league's players and staff, some are forced to make the choice between refusing the jab and staying employed.

Rick Dennison is reportedly out of a job after serving as the Vikings' offensive line coach and run game coordinator for the past two years. With 27 years of NFL coaching experience, Dennison, age 63, was a vital asset to the team.

ESPN reports that Dennison's position has been filled by now-former Vikings assistant offensive line coach Phil Rauscher.

NFL pandemic regulations state that all Tier 1 staff members, a category that includes coaches, must get vaccinated, unless they can provide a valid medical or religious reason for their refusal. While vaccines are mandatory for Tier 1 staff members, they remain optional for players. That being said, there are consequences if a player tests positive for the coronavirus.

The NFL on Thursday announced that any game that is cancelled due to COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated players or team staffers will not be rescheduled, and affected teams will be forced to forfeit the games.  

A memo from the NFL also states that the team who causes the cancellation will be "responsible for financial losses and subject to potential discipline from the commissioner." Implications of COVID-19 outbreaks are "massive" for all involved.

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